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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 7, 2016

'We're not going to compete on safety': Canadian paediatric health centres collaborate on journey to eliminating preventable harm

Clinical and operational leaders from SickKids, CHEO, and IWK came together to share ideas and key learnings about the journey to reducing preventable harm.
Clinical and operational leaders from SickKids, CHEO, and IWK came together to share ideas and key learnings about the journey to reducing preventable harm. (From left to right) SickKids: Dr. Trey Coffey, Medical Officer for Patient Safety, Richard Wray, Director, Quality Management, Patient Safety and Infection Prevention; CHEO: Dr. David Creery, Medical Director of Patient Safety, Jennifer Ellis, Director, Quality and Safety; IWK: Dr. Krista Jangaard, Vice President, Medicine & Academic Affairs, Matthew Campbell, Director, Quality, Performance & Process Improvement.

Safety is not a competition. This is one of the fundamental principles of the Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (SPS) collaborative, a network of over 100 North American paediatric hospitals. This group of hospitals shares the belief that by working together and sharing both successes and failures, each hospital can accelerate their progress in eliminating preventable medical harm to children.

On Friday, Sept. 30, over fifty representatives from paediatric health-care centres across Canada gathered at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL) for the first Canadian regional meeting of members of the SPS collaborative. As the first Canadian hospital to join SPS with the launch of our Caring Safely initiative, SickKids has brought other Canadian hospitals and paediatric health centres into the fold and acted as hosts for what was the twelfth regional meeting of hospitals in the collaborative this year. Most recently, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the IWK Health Centre joined SPS.

“The growth of the network has enabled us to affect how we improve care for kids on a much larger scale. Just a few short years ago, it was only eight of us in Ohio ...  to now see the passion and commitment of the Canadian hospitals that are here, along with the others that are expressing interest to join together to eliminate harm, has exceeded my wildest imagination,” says Nick Lashutka, President of SPS.

In keeping with one of SPS’s core principles, ‘leadership matters’, key leaders from each organization spoke to the group about the importance of leadership commitment for improving quality and safety. Many of the leaders started their presentations with stories of children who had been harmed or became seriously ill as a result of medical error, reminding attendees of the core mission of this work.

“We hope we won’t have to tell these stories in future, but I think stories of children who have been harmed really demonstrate the importance of this entire day and the reason we are all here working together,” says Lennox Huang, Chief Medical Officer, Vice President Medical and Academic Affairs, and executive co-sponsor of the Caring Safely initiative.

Originating as a group of eight hospitals in Ohio, the programs and training implemented across hospitals in the network have resulted in almost 7,000 children being spared from harm since 2009. Some hospitals who have been engaged in this work for years have seen a reduction in the rate of central line associated bloodstream infections of over 300 per cent. By continuing to work together and spread the evidence based prevention techniques, the positive impact to safety in health care will continue to spread.

There were valuable learning opportunities for all involved as each hospital shared their progress to date, as well as challenges that have been experienced along the way. A commitment to creating an “all teach, all learn” environment is a core tenet of the SPS collaborative. Leaders, physicians and quality leaders from SickKids shared key learnings from their experiences implementing the Caring Safely initiative, while newer hospitals discussed their organizational readiness to take on this important work.

“Coming together with our Canadian colleagues was a great opportunity to share our insight and experience after being a member of SPS for more than a year and we learned new ideas from them to help us all get safer faster.  On September 29, a smaller group from CHEO and IWK joined some of the SickKids’ Caring Safely team for an intensive ‘boot camp’ of sorts to share ideas about getting started.  They were appreciative and impressed by the talent and passion for safety at SickKids,” says Richard Wray, Director, Quality Management, Patient Safety and Infection Prevention.

To keep the momentum going, each organization identified key priorities they aim to achieve within 30, 60 and 90 days following the regional meeting.