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New reporting method targets patient safety in Saskatoon

SASKATOON – A new phone line for patients, family and staff in the Saskatoon Health Region has replaced a reporting method that included 13 different intakes to file safety issues in the city’s hospitals. The new intake now allows people to report unsafe events and practices or near-misses through a centralized method.

“Those are your amber lights, right? Those are your warning signs,” said Petrina McGrath, vice-president of people, practice and quality with the Saskatoon Health Region.

The system was first implemented at St. Paul’s Hospital in March 2014 and expanded to include City Hospital and Royal University Hospital this summer.

In the past, the majority of reports came from hospital staff, McGrath said. With the help of new signage and improved dialogue, she said it will become more accessible to the public.

“This is really about improving the patient experience and providing better value in terms of the health care system that the taxpayers support,” said Saskatchewan Health Minister Dustin Duncan.

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Approximately 1800 safety incident reports come in every month between Saskatoon’s three hospitals. However, McGrath estimates that figure represents just 10 per cent of actual occurrences.

The Ministry of Health hopes the Safety Alert Program will be expanded to the rest of the province by March of 2018.

To file a report, people can call 306-655-1600.

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