This Glossary defines and describes the terms used in the Engaging Patients in Patient Safety – a Canadian Guide. When appropriate, use your organization's preferred or commonly used terms.
Accreditation: A self-assessment and external peer assessment process used by health and social service organizations to accurately assess performance levels against established standards, and to implement ways to continuously improve.
Culture of safety: Culture is "the way we do things around here." Culture refers to people's shared values (what is important) and beliefs (what is held to be true), which interact with an organization's structure or system to produce behavioural norms (what people do).
Positive safety culture: Communication is open and honest, there is mutual respect and trust among providers and patients, people are comfortable reporting safety concerns, and there are fair and just processes in place to examine, address, and learn from failures.
Disclosure: A formal process to openly discuss a patient safety incident with the patient, their family, and members of the healthcare organization.
Engagement: An approach to encourage the people most impacted to participate actively in defining their issues of concern, and help decide, plan, deliver, implement, evaluate, and improve initiatives, processes, and/or policies. Ongoing engagement involves developing and sustaining constructive relationships, building strong, active partnerships at various levels across the healthcare system, and holding a meaningful dialogue with partners. Types of engagement include surveys, consultations, and shared decision making, as described in the spectrum of engagement. Effective engagement is goal-focused, decision-oriented and values-based.
Patient engagement: An approach to involve patients, families, and/or patient partners in:
Patients' experiential knowledge is recognized; and power is shared in ongoing, meaningful, constructive relationships at all system levels:
Public engagement: involving the public/ citizens before or after they access the healthcare system (e.g. make healthy and informed decisions regarding care)
Spectrum (continuum, levels) of engagement: The range of ways patient engagement takes place. It can span from input and consultation to shared leadership, accountability, and decision making.
Evaluation: Collecting, analyzing, and using data and information to understand how a project, program, or policy is progressing and/or what is its impact on individuals, organizations, and/or society. Evaluation often measures success or importance in relation to goals, objectives, and needs.
Incident analysis (or root cause analysis): Structured, rigorous, often legally-protected and confidential process to review a patient safety incident. It identifies what happened, how, why it happened, what can be done to reduce the risk of recurrence and make care safer, and what was learned. It examines the whole system of care to identify the factors that contributed to the patient safety incident.
Incident management: Various actions and processes required immediately and on an ongoing basis following a patient safety incident. It includes immediate response, disclosure, incident analysis, sharing and learning.
Patient and family:
Note: because of the inconsistent terminology some use the term "those most impacted" instead of patient.
Patient partner (or advisor): An individual who experienced care in the healthcare system (as a patient, family member or caregiver) and who, as part of a patient group (e.g., patient/family council), engages in shaping decisions, policies, and/or practices at all system levels.
Patient representative: An employee working in a healthcare setting who helps patients and families with their specific concerns, and answers their questions while in a healthcare facility. This person is the link between patients/ families, and providers/ organization.
Person (Patient, family) Centred Care: An approach to care where patients and healthcare professionals partner to:
People-centred care: An approach to care that consciously adopts individuals', carers', families' and communities' perspectives as participants in, and beneficiaries of, trusted health systems that are organized around the comprehensive needs of people rather than individual diseases, and respects their preferences. People-centred care is broader than patient and person-centred care, encompassing not only clinical encounters, but also including attention to the health of people in their communities and their crucial role in shaping health policy and health services.
Patient empowerment (or activation): Helping patients gain control over their own lives and increase their capacity to act on issues that they themselves define as important. Aspects of empowerment include self-efficacy, self-awareness, confidence, coping skills, and health literacy.
Patient experience: The sum of all interactions, shaped by an organization's culture, that influence patient perceptions, across the continuum of care.
Patient safety: The pursuit of the reduction and mitigation of unsafe acts within the health care system, as well as the use of best practices shown to lead to optimal patient outcomes. Patient safety is one of the dimensions of quality.
Measurement: A process essential to monitoring success. It indicates what's working and what's not, and can provide evidence for others to improve the quality of patient safety.
Providers (or clinicians): Includes physicians, nurses, and allied health care professionals who directly provide healthcare services to patients. The term does not include the family members providing care (family caregivers or care partners).
Quality of care: The degree to which healthcare services produce the desired health outcomes and measure up to current evidence and knowledge. The attributes most often used to describe quality care are safe, patient-centred, accessible, appropriate, effective, efficient, and equitable. Each province or organization may have their own quality frameworks.
Quality Improvement: A systematic approach to making changes that lead to better patient outcomes and stronger health system performance. It involves applying quality improvement science, which provides a robust structure, tools, and processes to assess and accelerate efforts for testing, implementing, and spreading good practices.
Stakeholder: A person who has a vested interest in engagement outcomes and who could be affected by any decisions taken or changes made. Stakeholders could include: patients, families, caregivers, providers, administrative staff, suppliers, organizational partners, the community, the public and others.
System levels: The healthcare system is comprised of many sub-systems operating at different levels (e.g., outside of the organization, within the organization and/or program level, at point of care) each with specific goals, resources (e.g., human, financial, equipment), and formal or informal processes.
Validated tool/survey/questionnaire: A measurement tool that has been tested for reliability (produces consistent results) and validity (produces true results).