What was the problem?
A Patient Safety curriculum is not implemented as a mandatory course in healthcare professional colleges (Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Rehabilitation) in SAARC countries including Pakistan which eventually leads to harm to patients.
What were the consequences of this problem?
As a Patient Safety curriculum was not included in the required courses of most of the Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Rehabilitation Sciences Colleges, students were not being taught to understand what constitutes safe practice which was causing increased morbidity and mortality which could be easily preventable if patient safety teachings were disseminated. This problem was identified by conducting a multi-centre study about patient safety culture awareness among the students and faculty which showed that there is very low awareness about patient safety among the students, residents of hospital and faculty of healthcare professional colleges and hospitals.
Did you face any obstacles that made it difficult to proceed?
There was resistance from the students because they thought that the Patient Safety curriculum would be an additional burden on them. This was also true for the resident doctors, pharmacists, dentists and rehab professionals who considered things like hand washing, documentation, etc as extra work and the faculty also thought that teaching patient safety would create additional work for them.
What did you do? Who did you involve?
We were lucky that the Chancellor of the University was very much in favour of producing safe healthcare professionals from Riphah International University and he empowered the quality and patient safety team and provided necessary resources.
We conducted awareness sessions for the students, healthcare professionals and faculty working in Riphah International University-affiliated hospitals and identified those who were interested in improving patient safety in University hospitals and we then formed a team under the Directorate of Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety.
All stakeholders were involved and after discussing the pros and cons of all available patient safety curricula, it was decided to implement the IHI Patient Safety curriculum to cover the knowledge component and the Joint Commission International Patient Safety Goals as the skill component. In the first 3 years, students will complete 13 module Basic Quality and Patient safety course online and the curricular teams in each college will guide the students by giving presentations about each module. The students are being provided with free registration to IHI Open School through the Riphah International University IHI open School chapter.
What worked? Did any aspects of the project go more smoothly than expected?
Yes, the initial resistance of students for including the Patient Safety curriculum converted into enthusiasm after they attended the awareness session and participated in an open discussion with the quality team. The main point which attracted the students was that they were going to be a pioneer group of healthcare professionals who would qualify through a course of study which incorporated patient safety as a mandatory component to get their degree.
What didn't work? Did any aspects of the project prove to be more problematic than expected?
The resistance of the faculty to implementation of a Patient Safety Curriculum was not expected to be as strong as it was, and it became very problematic. The principals of Medical, Dental, Pharmacy and Rehabilitation Sciences intervened and conducted numerous meetings along with quality team and ultimately, they also understood the importance of patient safety curriculum implementation to produce safe healthcare professional who will be able to deliver safe healthcare and reduce preventable morbidity and mortality and ensure no harm to the patients in healthcare settings.
Did you solve the problem? Did you effect a change in policy/working arrangements?
Yes, the healthcare quality team in collaboration with all stakeholders developed a Patient Safety curriculum and presented it to the Faculty of Health Sciences. After thorough discussion, the curriculum was approved as mandatory course content and was forwarded to the academic council where it was approved unanimously, and an official order based on the approved minutes of meeting by Vice Chancellor of University was issued by the Registrar of Riphah International University for implementation of the Patient Safety curriculum in all healthcare professional colleges of the University.
This certainly created a major change in policy in the awarding of a degree after mandatory completion of Patient Safety coursework and successfully passing exam passing exams.
What would you do differently next time?
As there is a great shortage of qualified healthcare quality and patient safety professionals, our team is in the process of introducing a Diploma in Patient Safety which will lead to a Master’s in Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety. I will also forward the Patient Safety curriculum to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, the regulatory body for medical and dental colleges, and to the Ministry of Health to get it formally approved.
We plan to share our success story and lessons learned with other healthcare professional colleges in Pakistan and in the region so that all healthcare professional colleges may implement a Patient Safety curriculum in their respective colleges and thus ensure safe care delivery by graduates of their courses.
This project would not have been possible without the support of the Riphah University Chancellor, Mr. Hassan Mohammed Khan who championed the project from the start and provided all the necessary resources to ensure its success.
Would you like to find out more about this project?
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