Improving patient safety through the power of partnerships

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Increasing efficiencies, eliminating duplication and expanding data collection: The power of partnerships

The need to identify, respond to and learn from adverse events and other safety issues is important in all health facilities. As part of this effort, CIHI reports on medication and intravenous fluid errors that occur in hospitals and long-term care settings through the National System for Incident Reporting (NSIR).

NSIR provides facilities and regional health authorities with the tools to collect, analyze, share and learn from medication incidents. NSIR’s data and analyses can inform quality improvement activities to improve medication use across the country.

Reporting to NSIR is voluntary, and it can be an extra step for facilities that already have their own data management software. Hospital administrators are continuously looking for efficiencies and eliminating duplication of work caused by entering the same data into 2 different systems.

The power of partnerships

This is where the power of partnerships becomes key. Through collaboration with BC Patient Safety & Learning System (BC PSLS), we are proud to say that data from all 5 of B.C.’s regional health authorities is now batch uploaded into NSIR. With batch uploading, medication incident data from BC PSLS now flows directly to NSIR without being entered a second time. The addition of B.C. data represents a major increase in the number of reports available for sharing and learning. Throughout the positive process of working with BC PSLS, the NSIR team learned valuable lessons that can be applied to other groups interested in batch submission of incidents.

This isn’t NSIR’s only partnership. In order to facilitate the use of data, the team also partners with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Health Canada, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada, Cancer Care Ontario and others.

Data collection

Where and how is the data collected? What happens after it is collected? Who can use the data?

  • A medication incident is discovered and reported internally.
  • Details are reviewed internally for data quality.
  • The incident report is finalized and submitted anonymously to NSIR.
  • Data becomes available for analysis by NSIR users and partners.
  • Users may communicate anonymously with each other to obtain additional information and to facilitate learning and sharing.

Benefits of participating in NSIR

  • NSIR allows you to share your experiences and exemplary practices and to learn from others. You can gain insight into similarities in the sources of risks and underlying system failures.
  • NSIR can help you create prevention strategies that can reduce or eliminate future incidents and improve patient safety.
  • Implementation can be phased in, beginning with a single ward/unit and expanding over time to include other wards/units.

Improving patient safety through the power of partnerships

Next steps

The NSIR team is currently working with other provinces, with an end goal of pan-Canadian reporting from all jurisdictions. Also, a new module for collecting radiation treatment incidents is being piloted in collaboration with the Canadian Partnership for Quality Radiotherapy.

Want to know more?

We have a collection of materials that provide additional information about NSIR and patient safety, including