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Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS) plays an important role in addressing shortcomings in optimal healthcare delivery. However, there is little published guidance available for emergency department (ED) teams with respect to developing their own QIPS programs. We sought to create recommendations for established and aspiring ED leaders to use as a pathway to better patient care through programmatic QIPS activities, starting internally and working towards interdepartmental collaboration.
An expert panel comprised of ten ED clinicians with QIPS and leadership expertise was established. A scoping review was conducted to identify published literature on establishing QIPS programs and frameworks in healthcare. Stakeholder consultations were conducted among Canadian healthcare leaders, and recommendations were drafted by the expert panel based on all the accumulated information. These were reviewed and refined at the 2018 CAEP Academic Symposium in Calgary using in-person and technologically-supported feedback.
Recommendations include: creating a sense of urgency for improvement; engaging relevant stakeholders and leaders; creating a formal local QIPS Committee; securing funding and resources; obtaining local data to guide the work; supporting QIPS training for team members; encouraging interprofessional, cross-departmental, and patient collaborations; using an established QIPS framework to guide the work; developing reward mechanisms and incentive structures; and considering to start small by focusing on a project rather than a program.
A list of 10 recommendations is presented as guiding principles for the establishment and sustainable deployment of QIPS activities in EDs throughout Canada and abroad. ED leaders are encouraged to implement our recommendations in an effort to improve patient care.
We conducted an environmental scan of quality improvement and patient safety (QIPS) infrastructure and activities in academic emergency medicine (EM) programs and departments across Canada.
We developed 2 electronic surveys through expert panel consensus to assess important themes identified by the CAEP QIPS Committee. “Survey 1” was sent by email to all 17 Canadian medical school affiliated EM department Chairs and Academic Hospitals department Chiefs; “Survey 2” to 12 identified QIPS leads in these hospitals. This was followed by 2 monthly email reminders to participate in the survey.
22/70 (31.4%) Department Chairs/Chiefs completed Survey 1. Most (81.8%) reported formal positions dedicated to QIPS activities within their groups, with a mixed funding model. Less than half of these positions have dedicated logistical support. 11/12 (91.7%) local QIPS leads completed Survey 2. Two-thirds (63.6%) reported explicit QIPS topics within residency curricula, but only 9.1% described QIPS training for staff physicians. Many described successful academic scholarship output, with the total number of peer-reviewed QIPS-related publications per centre ranging from 1–10 over the past 5 years. Few respondents reported access to academic supports: methodologists (27.3%), administrative personnel (27.3%), and statisticians (9.1%).
This environmental scan provides a snapshot of QIPS activities in EM across academic centres in Canada. We found significant local educational and academic efforts, although there is a discrepancy between the level of formal support/infrastructure and such activities. There remains opportunity to further advance QIPS efforts on a national level, as well as advocating and supporting local QIPS activities.