Patti Trapp didn’t sleep well the night before the Safety Alert System went live. “Actually, I don’t think any of us slept that well,” laughs Trapp, referring to her fellow safety centre coordinators. “We were all pretty nervous about the first day.”

Patti Trapp talks to a client calling the safety centre.

Patti Trapp talks to a client calling the safety centre.

March 11 marked the launch of the Safety Alert System at St. Paul’s Hospital and the response from employees has been positive. “The employees calling in seem really happy to have someone to talk to about their issue,” says Trapp. “Everyone has been very friendly and eager to report everything.” The safety centre opened at 7:00 a.m.and there was already a message waiting for them from a call that came in at midnight.

From March 11 at 7:00 a.m. until March 12 at 7:00 a.m., the safety centre received a total of 54 calls, five of which were considered Level 3 and four of those Level 3 calls were related to medications. The rest of the 54 calls were considered Level 2 or Level 1. The call centre received its first call from a visitor to SPH on March 12.

“What was interesting about the more serious Level 3 calls is that they were all related to an unintentional error made by the pharmacy information system vendor when an update was made to the MAR (Medication Administration Record),” explains Victoria Schmid, director of the Safety Alert System. “Because these four incidents were reported, correlations between them were made and we were able to respond to the root of the problem and fix it. This speaks volumes about the ability we have to track and trend safety issues and concerns.”

Handy instruction cards are available for staff to keep with their Health Region name tags.

Handy instruction cards are available for staff to keep with their Health Region name tags.

The first day brought some valuable lessons and feedback. “We’ve had some problems with some of the reports being issued to managers and some concerns weren’t being assigned to the most appropriate person. We also need to be able to share concerns with colleagues at other sites,” explains Schmid. Despite the hiccups, Schmid is proud of the response on the first day. “We’re excited that people are using the system and that they want to use it. We appreciate everyone’s patience and willingness to work with us as we figure out and resolve these glitches and bumps along the way.”

Employees, physicians, volunteers, patients or families can call the Safety Alert System phone number to report a safety issue or concern at St. Paul’s Hospital – anything they know, feel, see, smell or hear that has the potential to cause them, a loved one or employee harm. Once the system has been tested, it will be implemented across Saskatoon Health Region and eventually, the entire province.