Monday, April 16, 2012

Governing quality and safety in Saskatoon

I am in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada to attend and speak at the annual health care quality summit of the Health Quality Council, an independent agency that measures and reports on quality of care in the province, promotes improvement, and engages its partners in building a better health system.  In advance of the summit, I was invited to attend a meeting of the Quality and Safety Committee of the Saskatoon Regional Health Authority.  This is the board committee charged with governance review of safety and quality, covering hospitals but also community-based health facilities throughout the province.

I was tremendously impressed with the expertise and commitment of the staff and board members.  (Committee chair Doug Finnie is seen here with Petrina McGrath, VP for quality and interprofessional practice.)  The conversations were thoughtful and probing, demanding accountability, but also with a heavy dose of positive reinforcement from the board members.

Here you see Barb Evans, pharmacy manager, giving a report on on medication reconciliation and documenting steady progress in this domain.  That was one of several reports today, including one on fall prevention in long-term care facilities and another on pathology lab process improvements.


Anonymous said...

Enjoy your time in Saskatchewan! While there, ask around about SaskTel, the local telco. While not without hiccups, it has transitioned fairly well from stodgy gov't entity to agile telco operator.

Anonymous said...

Paul, I'm curious as to whether you find in your travels that board members are skilled sufficiently to demand the scope of QI progress that their roles require? Aren't boards just 'following the cart'? Are any actually capable of delineating the goals and set points of hospital performance?

Over a decade ago, Orlikoff and others pushed boards to demand better data. Jha, Belmont and others argued that board analyses are of critical importance to hospital performance given reform and competitive shifts. For all of the 'progress' in medicine, I think that there is to next to nothing in oversight of its performance.

Paul Levy said...

It varies widely. This group in Saskatoon does a very good job, based on what I have seen. They also have a modest view of their capabilities and seem to relish the idea of learning more over time. I was impressed.

I have seen others elsewhere who have no concept.

Maura Davies said...

Thanks Paul. Welcome to Saskatoon. We are proud of the progress we are making in Saskatoon Health Region but know we have a long way to go in ensuring every patient receives safe, high quality care, every time. Your blog is an inspiration to us. We look forward to learning more from you and other leaders at the Summit.
Maura Davies
President and CEO
Saskatoon Health Region

Doug Finnie said...

As Chair of the Q & S Board Committee at the SRHA Paul refers to, we have learned from IHI governance concepts, Orlikow et. al. We take our role seriously and "do not follow the cart".
We are all learning as we go but believe we have made much progress. We would share with anyone who would like to learn more.

Doug Finnie, Chair Quality and Safety SRHA