The Timely Open Communication for Patient Safety Project

Margo Lynn Paterson, Jennifer Medves, Nancy Dalgarno, Anne O'Riordan, Robyn Grigg


Background: Concern is growing over increased numbers of adverse events experienced by patients when admitted to acute care hospitals in Canada due to breakdowns in communication. The purpose of the Timely Open Communication for Patient Safety (TOC) project was to create a culture of patient safety through enhanced interprofessional communication by developing resources for caregivers and patients.


Methods and Findings: The research was framed by a mixed methods design that included pre- and post-surveys and focus groups, online educational modules, face-to-face activities, and the development of patient orientation materials. Three clinical sites participated in the study. The findings indicate that supporting healthcare teams to identify strengths, challenges, and future directions of communicating, clarifying roles, functioning, and collaborating, coupled with educational interventions that raise awareness of patient safety,may enhance patient safety. The study was limited by the absence of data regarding the incidence of adverse events during the research period.


Conclusion: The data showed improvement in team members' perceptions of interprofessional collaborative practice within the participating Collaborative Learning Units (CLUs). If the CLU model of care is adopted within the healthcare system, the safety of patients/clients may improve.


Patient safety; Educational intervention; Communication; Collaborative learning units; Interprofessional

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