Improvements in health-care system showcased

Accessed via Medicine Hat News here

The Palliser Friends of Medicare hoped to help dispel fears about hospital quality and help showcase the improvements in the health care system during an information session Friday evening at Medicine Hat College

Laurel Stretch, director for clinical quality improvement for the South Zone, spoke of multiple initiatives and quality improvement Alberta Health Services have been involved in.

Some of the initiatives for quality improvement described in the session include the green sticker alert, patient whiteboards and the NOD system (name, occupation, duty) for when workers introduce themselves to patients.

“I think the main thing today was to give people some good news about what’s happening here in the south zone and to let people know that we do use all the information that they’re providing for us, as well as ways to get involved if they have a desire to,” she said.

Another way AHS is working to improve quality is emphasizing a “Just Culture,” a concept repeated several times by Stretch during the presentation.

“We’re moving away from a blaming and shaming culture to being a culture where people can come forward and speak freely when things happen or when they think there is a potential for patient safety to be at risk, and they will be able to freely express it, and know we’re going to respond,” she said.

Stretch thinks it is essential patients take a role in helping to improve the quality of care in the province.

“Patients may not be an expert in health care, but they’re an expert in themselves,” she said.

Improving the quality of care has grown in importance in the province in recent years, says Stretch.

“There’s becoming a very clear mandate in Alberta Health Services on what our organization needs to do to improve quality and safety for patients,” she said. “I think it’s getting more attention.”