Français

Understanding harm


How harm occurs

Terminology used in Québec


It is important for physicians practising in Québec to understand the terms accident and incident, as these are entrenched in law and will help physicians to fulfill their obligations for disclosing and reporting events.

Accident

In Québec law, accident refers to harm resulting from healthcare delivery. The Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services defines an accident as "an action or situation where a risk event occurs which has or could have consequences for the state of health or welfare of the user, a personnel member, a professional involved, or a third person."

To learn more about "Terminology used in Québec", click on each box in the diagram.

(Read as text only)
Opens in popup
or combination
  • Consequence

    • Underlying medical condition/disease

    • Accident

Consequence

An outcome that negatively affects the patient's health and quality of life. The analysis of an event indicates the consequence resulted from (or a combination of) the following factors.

Incident

In Québec's Act Respecting Health Services and Social Services, an incident is "an action or situation that does not have consequences for the state of health or the welfare of the user, a personnel member, a professional involved, or a third person, but the outcome of which is unusual and could have had consequences under different circumstances."

It should be noted that neither term, accident nor incident, corresponds exactly to the WHO terminology. As the CMPA interprets the Québec legislation, the term accident would align with the WHO term "harmful incident" whereas the term incident would include the WHO terms "no harm incident" and "near miss."