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About Sickkids
About SickKids

May 28, 2014

SickKids looks to the future of patient safety

Patient safety is always top of mind at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). With a patient safety commitment to providing the right care, at the right time, for every child and family the hospital serves, it is necessary to plan ahead.

That’s why this year’s SickKids Paediatric Patient Safety Symposium in association with Risky Business Toronto turned to the future, and looked at planning and preparing for the future of paediatric safety in uncertain times.

The event marked the 10th anniversary of the annual SickKids symposium, which took place at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL) on May 15 and 16. It attracted more than 200 people from a variety of backgrounds and interests – health-care clinicians, leaders, researchers, journalists, quality/safety and infection prevention specialists, educators, patients and families – who came to hear from national and international quality and patient safety experts and share ideas.

“This is more than an education event,” said Dr. Trey Coffey, Medical Officer for Patient Safety at SickKids. “It’s symbolic of our commitment and leadership in patient safety. This discussion and learning extends way beyond the conference day.”

An interactive presentation by Suzanne Gordon was one of highlights of the symposium. She is an award-winning journalist and author/editor whose professional focus is on problem-solving communication issues that can occur between health-care clinicians and patients. Symposium participants acted out real-life scenarios in order to gain perspective of the different stresses and communication breakdowns afflicting health-care teams that can impact patient safety.

“I was so impressed with our SickKids staff who participated as actors in Suzanne’s play, Bedside Manners,” says Rita Damignani, Patient Safety Coordinator, SickKids. “Enacting this play together as health-care professionals and patients was an innovative effort to address teamwork and communication and their impact on patient safety.”

Danial Kraft closed out the symposium with a presentation that showed how emerging technologies will re-invent the future of health and medicine. Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard-trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and innovator. He discussed emerging technology trends that will change the way health-care is provided and thought about. Providing examples from social media, gamification, apps, telemedicine, artificial intelligence, robotics and regenerative medicine, Kraft predicts health-care delivery will become more continuous and proactive, rather than episodic and reactive.

“Kraft challenged us to shift from linear thinking and consider the exponentially increasing impact technology will have on the future of health care,” says Neil Shah, who is leading Project Horizon, an initiative that envisages the SickKids of the future and guides its long-term vision. “These will be essential concepts to incorporate into our planning with Project Horizon.”

This is the first year the symposium partnered with Risky Business Toronto, an international, non-profit collaborative venture which aims to share new ideas on managing risk, patient safety, teamwork and improvement science from high achievers in other high-risk businesses, industries, media, military and the arts.  Damigiani adds, “The SickKids/Risky Business partnership is a strong and powerful initiative, one we hope to build on in the future!”