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Newsletter September 2022: ESAIC Patient Safety Education Program - Safer Care to Save Lives

Prof. Guy Haller

Guy HallerThe ESAIC is currently developing an extensive Patient Safety education programme, Safer Care to Save Lives.

The ESAIC Essential Patient Safety Course (EPSC) is one part of this programme. It will be an online course aimed at providing key knowledge on patient safety. It is built on the basis of the overarching principles of the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology. It is a training pathway aimed at providing key knowledge on patient safety in acute settings: intensive care, anaesthesiology and perioperative care and emergency settings. This course is also guided by the WHO Global Patient Safety Action Plan 2021-2030 and the WHO Multi-professional Patient Safety Curriculum.

It will contain 5 eLearning modules on the following topics:

  1. Patient Safety and the Helsinki Declaration on Patient Safety in Anaesthesiology
  2. System Complexity and Patient Safety
  3. Human Factors
  4. Common Safety issues in Anaesthesiology
  5. Quality Improvement Strategies for monitoring and implementing change.

The 5 eLearning modules will present learners with the key aspects of the Helsinki Declaration, explain issues related to system complexity and human factors and offer training in common quality and safety improvement tools. The programme works as a standalone course, but it is also intended to provide theoretical content required for the ESAIC Advanced Patient Safety Course (APSC) and the ESAIC Patient Safety and Quality Masterclass (PSQMC).

The ESAIC Essential Patient Safety Course is aimed at all healthcare professionals, patients and stakeholders interested in patient safety in acute settings: Intensive Care, Perioperative Care, Anaesthesia, Emergency and other settings where acute patients are treated.

The EPSC includes a series of 5 different modules with lectures, videos, podcasts, theoretical content and interactive exercises and scenarios. It also includes updated reading on the topic and short evaluation tests that close each of the modules.

These modules will focus on the following goals:

  • Provide a theoretical update on the different aspects of the current state-of-the-art in the different fields of patient safety and quality in the perioperative setting, according to the framework defined in the Helsinki declaration for patient safety in anaesthesiology.
  • Understand health system complexity as one of the core components of patient safety issues.
  • Learn the basics of human factors as a source and solution for patient safety issues, focusing on leadership, teamwork, communication and situation awareness.
  • Study and identify the common safety issues in anaesthesiology, intensive care and other acute settings. These include intravenous medication errors, healthcare-related infections and device-related problems.
  • Acquire basic knowledge and train on safety improvement strategies to manage common clinical risks and hazards in acute settings. These will include drug error management, conflict management, critical incident analysis and improvement strategies, problem-solving

The authors of the EPSC have considerable experience in both anaesthesiology and patient safety. The project lead is Associate Professor Guy Haller. Guy is Adjunct to the Head of Department and Director of Quality Management, Department of Acute Care Medicine-Anaesthesiology, Geneva University Hospitals, Switzerland.

We asked Guy some questions about his background and interest in patient safety.

  • How did you start patient safety?

I got into patient safety early at the beginning of my career. I have always been fascinated by the magic of anaesthesia but also its ability to harm when poorly managed. I gradually discovered that appropriate knowledge and management of anaesthetic drugs, ventilation and fluids according to patient condition was not enough to guarantee the safety of patient care. Many other aspects such as surgery, operating theatre teamwork, pre and postoperative care also strongly influenced patient safety. This system’s perspective on patient care and all the benefits it can provide to patients when it is well understood and when its challenges are properly addressed finally convinced me to work and study this field of anaesthesiology.

  • What motivates you to work in patient safety?

I am strongly motivated by the immediate benefits I see when safety risks for patients are properly managed. This can include, for example, a well-prepared and managed difficult intubation sequence, a challenging operation where the surgeons and anaesthesiologist discuss and plan together the most appropriate patient management strategy or a good communication process between the anaesthesia and ICU staff that ensures all pre and intraoperative issues are highlighted and will be addressed during the postoperative period.

It is often “small things” like good communication or the use of a simple protocol that can make a big difference for the patient. This is really fascinating to me.

  • What keeps you going when the culture of healthcare is so slow to change?

I enjoy both the clinical and scientific dimensions of this field. When the implementation of a safety improvement intervention has a demonstrated benefit, I get delighted since its impact goes far beyond an individual patient. It can impact the outcome of thousands. This public health perspective on the benefits of patient safety improvement is one of the factors that makes me enjoy this field so much. The other is the holistic dimension of patient safety. It opens the brain to many different dimensions of patient care, far beyond the anaesthetic process itself. This combination of both a human and a systemic dimension of patient care is what keeps me always enthusiastic and drives my willingness to work further and deeper in the field.

This course is currently under development and will be completed by the end of 2023.

The development of this project is supported through unrestricted educational grants from our key ESAIC Patient Safety Partners: Medtronic, Philips Healthcare, Edwards Life Sciences, Mindray and Getinge.

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