Sunday, April 24, 2011

Inspire! hits it out of the park!

Saskatchewan’s Inspire! Healthcare Quality Summit (April 20-21) in Regina was amazing! About 650 people visited poster displays, attended workshops, heard “Saskatchewan stories”, and participated in a CEO/leadership roundtable discussion.

The highlights for me were the keynote addresses from Maureen Bisognano, John Toussaint and Richard Shannon. Each brought their own perspective to healthcare quality improvement and patient safety, but they all have a common attribute: They tell a compelling story. Their presentations revolve around the experience(s) of actual patients. They introduced us to these people, and told us about their lives and how they had been affected by defects in healthcare. That was the springboard to presenting systemic data and solutions, and then return to the individual patient’s story to remind us all of why we were there: Improving care for each patient. Memorable!

Many people describe themselves as being passionate about a cause; Richard Shannon wears his passion on his sleeve. He is on a crusade against hospital-acquired infection. You can read about his story in the excellent book, The Best Practice, but if you have a chance to listen to him in person, take it.

A welcome surprise was Premier Brad Wall visiting the summit and expressing his appreciation for the quality improvement work being done in Saskatchewan healthcare. It was very gratifying.

There are already plans for a 2012 Inspire! event in Saskatoon. I think we can make it even better than 2011.

I would like to hear more patient voices. Perhaps each day could start with a short presentation from a patient, or their family, highlighting the impact (whether positive or not) healthcare has had on their lives. There were excellent poster presentations from healthcare workers, highlighting various quality improvement and patient safety initiatives. Maybe there is a way to invite patients and families to create posters about their experiences, both telling their story and making suggestions for improvement. There could be workshops specifically for patients: story-telling, advocating for your own care, community involvement and political advocacy.

Front-line caregivers should be more involved. It may be difficult to take a lot of staff away from clinical responsibilities, and there will be limitations on physical space at the venue, but perhaps the keynote sessions could be broadcast around the province, or recorded and made available to staff.

Inspire! has started off on such a high note, it’s exciting to imagine where we can take this event next year.


  1. HI Kishore,

    Great ideas about involving the patient more in events like this one. One resource you may want to check out is the Patient Voices Network out of BC (, or facebook or twitter). They are currently working at doing all the things you describe above and have a support system to get patients invloved. They recently held a patient forum for patients who are curently or want to be involved with QI in the health system and it focused on building capacity in all the areas you listed above. Perhaps some ideas to share and inspire!

    Christina Southey

  2. Thanks, Christina. Great to hear from you!

    Here's the link to Patient Voices

    And here's a link to Patient's Association of Canada

    Lots of interesting resources and links on both sites. Wouldn't it be great to involve some of these folks in next year's Inspire!