An observational descriptive study of formal patient safety curriculum in canadian undergraduate medical education the ottawa hospital
An Observational Descriptive Study of
Formal Patient Safety Curriculum in
Canadian Undergraduate Medical
Hoang Pham, MD 2016, BSc, BA, Faculty of Medicine, University
Dr. Sherissa Microys, MD, FRCPC, Department of Critical Care,
The Ottawa Hospital
Dr. Amy Nakajima, MD, FRCSC, Department of Obstetrics &
Gynecology, The Ottawa Hospital
Context and Problem/Issue:
Increasing the training of medical students in patient safety (PS) has been identified as a
potential vehicle by which to improve the provision of safe and effective healthcare.
However, progress has been slow, despite calls to action and a rapidly growing awareness of the
importance of PS teaching in Canadian Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME)
The objective of this study is to describe the present status of formal PS curricula in Canadian
UGME and to identify barriers to increasing PS curriculum.
This study focuses on PS content & delivery, extracurricular opportunities, encountered
challenges, PS teaching strategies & resources, and anticipated future developments.
Contribution to Patient Safety and Quality Improvement
•Our study proposes to deliberately and systematically seek and solicit comprehensive information
regarding PS teaching in Canadian UGME that is currently unpublished and publically unavailable.
•This study also will highlight the directions that medical education leadership envisions for future
•Ultimately, the purpose of this study is to achieve a better understanding of how to teach and
learn PS competencies at the UGME level.
This is an observational descriptive survey looking at PS curricula at all 17 Canadian medical
schools using telephone interviews.
A preliminary environmental scan of medical school websites was performed as part of this
project; 4 of 17 schools had explicit information about formal PS curricula.
Table 1. Formal Patient Safety Curriculum Across Canada
Northern Ontario School of
Université de Montréal
Université de Sherbrooke
University of Alberta
University of British
University of Calgary
University of Manitoba
University of Ottawa
University of Saskatchewan
University of Toronto
IHI Open School
Chapter Listed on
the IHI Chapter
Table 2. Delivery of Patient Safety Curriculum
2, 3, 4
Content Gaps in Formal Patient Safety Curriculum
McGill University: Domain 4 (key competencies 2 &3), Domain 5
(key competency 3)
University of Ottawa: Domain 1 (key competency 3), Domain 3
(key competency 4)
University of Saskatchewan: no gaps, but this a 2-3 week 4th
year medical student elective-only patient safety curriculum
University of Toronto: Domain 1 (key competency 3), Domain 2
(key competencies 2 & 4), Domain 3 (key competencies 1, 2, & 3),
Domain 4 (key competencies 1 &3), Domain 5 (all key
competencies), Domain 6 (key competencies (1, 2, 4, & 5)
•From this environment scan, PS curricula in Canadian UGME appears inconsistent and
does not meet address all the key competencies outlined in the Canadian Patient Safety
Institute (CPSI) The Safety Competencies framework. Schools are likely experiencing
certain difficulties in providing this curriculum and will need to consider ways to overcome
•Common topics covered included PS culture, effective teamwork & communication,
systems approach, human factors, and reporting and disclosure of adverse events.
•There were diverse approaches to teaching PS. PS was often taught through didactic
learning in large group settings.
•Time devoted to PS training varied greatly: episodic, longitudinal, or elective-only. PS
teaching was often given just prior to beginning clinical rotations.
•The IHI Open School modules and the CMPA Good Practices Guide were the two most
commonly used online resources to teach PS to medical students.
•PS electives and research opportunities for medical students were very limited. Most
Canadian medical schools had an IHI Open School chapter.
•Limitations: These preliminary results are based solely on available information online.
An application to REB has been submitted to systematically seek out comprehensive
information regarding PS teaching in Canadian UGME that is currently unpublished and