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Quality and safety improvement

Making things better

Improving safety

Man in meeting explaining fishbone diagram on whiteboard The following are commonly used terms and approaches for quality and safety improvement. Essential elements of quality and safety improvement approaches include measuring and monitoring indicators of care.

Risk management

  • activities to identify, analyze and educate, and to structure processes to reduce the likelihood of adverse events (accidents in Québec)
  • on an individual or institutional level
  • proactive or reactive in nature

Medical-legal risk management is the term used for approaches to preventing medical-legal problems.

Continuous quality improvement (CQI)

Many use this term to describe a philosophy for improvement [REF]
Campbell, S., "Patient Safety and Continuous Quality Improvement – a User's Guide," in Pat Croskerry, ed. Patient Safety in Emergency Medicine (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2009), p12.
  • gaps in quality are usually due to the effect of the system on the individual rather than due to the individuals themselves
  • a team approach to improvement is important
  • blame is avoided

High reliability organizations

Many Canadian hospitals are seeking to adopt the high reliability approaches used in the airline, military, nuclear and other industries.High reliability organizations

A high reliability organization is one that anticipates serious "accidents", despite the high risk and complexity of their activities and environment.