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Medical error

Alberta unveils patient safety framework

CALGARY – A new provincial framework released earlier this month is intended to guide, direct and support continuous and measureable improvement of patient safety for Albertans. The purpose of the framework is to develop and advance patient safety strategies in Alberta’s health care system with the goal of creating a safer system.

“Reaching consensus on an issue as fundamental and complex as patient safety required tremendous effort, so I congratulate everyone involved in the framework’s development on this significant achievement,” said Alberta Health and Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky. “Albertans deserve a safe and effective healthcare system that they can rely on, and I am confident this framework and its partners will achieve that goal.”

One of six significant outcomes from the framework is the establishment of a Patient/Family Safety Advisory Panel. Under the jurisdiction and guidance of the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA), the advisory panel will leverage the experiences and perspectives of patients and their families to improve and promote patient safety in Alberta’s health system.

In addition to the Patient/Family Safety Advisory Panel, there are five other strategic initiatives in the framework that will:

• implement a provincial adverse event reporting and learning system;

• establish a provincial patient safety network;

• implement a model of patient safety management;

• have organizations develop and implement operational policies on a just and trusting culture,

• reporting and learning from adverse events, informing and disclosure;

• build knowledge capacity to support patient safety.

“The Patient Safety Framework for Albertans is a commitment to the citizens of Alberta and I want to commend Minister Zwozdesky for supporting a safer healthcare system that partners with patients and their families,” said HQCA Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Cowell (pictured). “This framework commits all the organizations and people involved in its development to new ways of improving patient safety and will act as an accelerant to the many good things already happening in Alberta in this area.”

The Patient Safety Framework for Albertans was created under the leadership of the HQCA in collaboration with Alberta Health and Wellness, Alberta Health Services, the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta, the Alberta College of Pharmacists, the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, the Alberta Medical Association and a member of the public.

As an independent organization legislated under the Regional Health Authorities Act, the Health Quality Council of Alberta gathers and analyzes information and collaborates with Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health and Wellness, health professions and other stakeholders to translate that knowledge into practical improvements to health service quality and patient safety in the health care system. The Patient Safety Framework for Albertans is available at

Posted September 23, 2010