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Patient safety a priority for AHS employees and physicians

Alberta continues to have one of the safest healthcare systems in the country, and the majority of employees, physicians and volunteers are positive about their work at AHS and would feel safe receiving healthcare at AHS.

Last year, AHS completed a workforce engagement and patient safety survey. We worked with an industry leader in employee engagement to make this happen because we know that there is a direct link between how engaged and supported our people feel in their jobs, and the care we provide.

AHS had the highest participation rate in its history – 46,150 individuals completed the survey, including more than 2,600 physicians.

The results of the survey told us what we are doing right, as well as how we can do better as an organization to support our staff, physicians and volunteers in the care we provide every day.

When asked whether they would feel safe receiving healthcare from AHS, 64 per cent of AHS employees and 66 per cent of physicians responded by stating they either agreed or strongly agreed with that statement.

AHS is consistently a top-performer nationally when it comes to several key safety indicators, and we are consistently below the expected number of deaths occurring in our facilities compared to other provinces.

And, Alberta’s hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR), reported by the , is in line with the national average. The rate of in-hospital death following major surgery also matches the national average.

Although Alberta’s health system is as safe or safer than other health systems in Canada, AHS is committed to asking the tough questions about how it can continue improving. We depend on the expert feedback of staff, physicians and volunteers to make our health system safer.

AHS’ workforce engagement survey did tell us that there is room for improvement, and we want to do better.

It is important to note that we are not shying away from these survey results, and dispute suggestions that they had to be leaked to the media in order for the public to find out about them. Results were shared with physicians and staff, and were also made publicly available on the AHS website in May 2017.

We have followed up with our stakeholders over the past several months to ensure they received the publicly available results. More information on our results is available on our website. 

Sharing the results and encouraging leaders to discuss the survey with their teams is the first step towards addressing what we’ve heard. We’ve provided tools and resources to our senior leaders, managers and physicians to help them discuss the results with their team and develop plans to work on improving engagement as we go forward.

AHS is taking action to address the feedback we’ve received. For example, physician survey results highlighted the importance of involving physicians in the decision-making process and AHS is ensuring physicians from a variety of clinical areas are involved in zone healthcare planning.

In order to demonstrate the organization’s commitment to ensuring physicians and other clinicians have a strong voice in how care is delivered, AHS has implemented a medical leadership structure that ensures physicians are have a voice at the department, program, site and zone level.

We have also implemented a dyad model for leadership which pairs physician leaders with an administrative leader.  This dyad model of leadership at the site, zone and provincial level also helps ensure clinicians have input and feedback into our health system.

 This fall, we will check in with our people to see how we are doing. We plan to complete another engagement and patient safety survey next year to measure our progress. 

This work will continue – again, with the focus on improving patient outcomes first and foremost.

 

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