Web site proposes to report on safety

A new web-based platform was launched Tuesday tol allow users to look up information on patient safety incidents around the world.

TORONTO — A new web-based platform was launched Tuesday tol allow users to look up information on patient safety incidents around the world.

The website www.globalpatientsafetyalerts.com was developed by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, and will give health care providers a place to learn about these incidents, and see recommendations to help prevent them from happening again.

For instance, the website relates the case of a patient who inadvertently received epinephrine instead of ephedrine, and it says hospitals should avoid stocking these two medications side by side to prevent mix-ups.

The group says that historically, when an incident has occurred in one jurisdiction, other areas haven’t been able to learn from the mistake because no global system exists to gather and share information.

Director of operations Paula Beard says the website already has 167 alerts in French and English and will have another 700 listed in the months to come.

She says patient stories indicate patients want the truth to come out, an apology, and to know that telling their experience will help prevent others from going through the same thing.

Liam Donaldson, chair of Patient Safety at the World Health Organization, took part in the institute’s webcast from London on Tuesday, and said the project is likely to be taken up very quickly.

He used the metaphor of an orange wire that’s found disconnected during a pre-flight inspection of a jumbo jet. The wire is repaired, then reported to a supervisor and a network of engineers across the system who would then check all jumbo jets of the same make to ensure there’s no system-wide fault.

“That’s the ultimate test for health care — the orange wire test,” he said.

“Global Patient Safety Alerts will connect the patient safety world in a way it has never been connected before and give us all the opportunity to learn from similarities and patterns in sources of risk.”

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute, funded by Health Canada, is a not-for-profit organization.