Patient safety

Millions of Canadians are safely treated in Canadian hospitals each year. However, the growing complexity of the healthcare environment brought on by new advances in technology, health human resource shortages, and new treatment protocols, increases the potential risk of harm to patients.

The landmark Canadian Adverse Events study concluded that approximately 7.5% of Canadians admitted to hospitals will experience an “unintended injury or complication resulting in death, disability or prolonged hospital stay” as a direct result of the care they received, rather than from their underlying health condition. This report, combined with a small number of critical incidents in Canada and the United States in the late 1990’s, drew attention to the potential impact of adverse events on the safe delivery of care, the associated cost across Canada’s provincially based healthcare system, and the burden of adverse events on Canadians.

Since then, organizations across Canada have increasingly focused on the importance of:

  • building a safety culture  that is open, fair and transparent, and that encourages disclosure and discussion about the factors – including system level issues – that contributed to the event;
  • sharing information about adverse events regardless of where they occur so that we can learn from them to reduce the risk of them happening in other institutions across Canada.

CAPCA established the Systemic Therapy Safety Committee in 2007 to focus exclusively on improving the delivery of chemotherapy across Canada. Together, physician, nursing, pharmacy, and administrative leaders from cancer agencies and programs from coast to coast are focusing on four key areas:

  1. Research
  2. Overdose Management Protocols
  3. Critical Incident Reporting
  4. Standards