Building trust for safer patient care

February 6, 2019

In a just culture, healthcare workers, patients, and family members feel empowered to report errors and threats to patients’ safety without fear of reprisal. This information can be used to learn and make changes to the system to improve patients’ safety and care.

That’s exactly what the Just Culture initiative is meant to do.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) has announced a new, shared resource—the Just Culture website—that launched in February 2019. This collaborative initiative supports the development and adoption of a just culture within Alberta’s health system. Leveraging existing just culture practices already in place at leading organizations such as Alberta Health Services and Covenant Health, the working group representing Health Quality Network members spent many months creating a common understanding of what a just culture is and developing resources to help organizations establish their own framework for a just culture.

The Alberta College of Pharmacy (ACP) is one of the organizations committed to encouraging and supporting just cultures within pharmacy teams. ACP contributed to the discussions that led to the creation of the Just Culture initiative and the resources HQCA has made available. ACP has developed our consultation and complaint processes to respect and support the principles and behaviours important to a just culture. Whenever possible and applicable, ACP takes an educational and remedial approach to errors and incidents.

The Just Culture initiative will foster an atmosphere of trust, where people feel safe to discuss quality and safety concerns without fear of blame. When something does go wrong with patient care, healthcare workers will be supported and treated fairly.

The website is a shared resource for healthcare professionals, policy makers, educators, and patients and families to learn more about just culture.

The Just Culture website includes

  • a list of organizations committed to creating a just culture, and by extension, a safety culture in our healthcare system;
  • information about just culture and its relationship to a safety culture;
  • information about just culture for different healthcare stakeholders including patients and families;
  • resources that can help organizations establish a framework and actions to support a just culture; and
  • an approach and tools for the fair assessment of people involved in a patient safety incident that considers their actions in context (future addition).

HQCA invites you to check out the new site and share with others so that we can create a common culture across our health system in the pursuit of safer patient care.

For information about ACP’s Systems Approach to Quality Assurance visit the drug error management page of the ACP website.

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