Open for better care
Dr Janice Wilson, Chief Executive of the Health Quality and Safety Commission, unveils a new campaign
In May 2013 the Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) launched a new national patient safety campaign aimed at reducing harm for patients at hospitals and within the wider health system.
Open for better care challenges healthcare workers to be open to acknowledging mistakes and learning from them, open to working closely with patients and consumers, and open to change, improvement and innovation. It will run until mid-2015 and will be measured by quality and safety markers developed in consultation with clinicians.
The campaign focuses on four key areas where evidence shows we can reduce harm: falls, surgery, infections and medication safety. Each topic will be rolled out sequentially, with falls the first area of focus.
The reasons for the campaign aren’t that we’re doing a bad job of keeping our patients safe. Lots of good safety work is happening within health services, but people are sometimes still being injured through falling – and infections, surgical errors and mistakes within medicine still happen more than they should.
While these adverse events can be devastating to hospital staff, they often have serious and long-term impacts for patients and their families, so a single event is one too many.
Open for better care is so named because it seeks to foster an open culture where it is safe to acknowledge that mistakes have been made, to question practices that may be unsafe, and where adverse events are transparently reported. This sort of culture is critical to both avoiding mistakes and to learning from them so they don’t occur again.
Teamwork will also be essential. Teams working together, sharing their knowledge and their partnership with the patient can make all the difference in providing a safe environment in which to work, recover and receive treatment. And teams need leaders who will step up and take responsibility so their team can talk about mistakes, learn how to move forward and find new and better ways of doing things.
We are looking forward to engaging with New Zealand health professionals over the next few years. It’s going to be energising and challenging. There will be plenty of debate along the way and, yes, the campaign itself is open to change.
Find out more about the campaign at www.open.hqsc.govt.nz