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Hospital appoints third research chair

Focus will be on patient safety and quality improvement

North York General Hospital (NYGH) recently welcomed Patricia Trbovich as the new Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement. The Pulse spoke with Patricia about her new role, what she hopes to accomplish and why we're at a tipping point when it comes to transforming and enhancing health care institutions.

Patricia Trbovich, Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, North York General Hospital

Patricia Trbovich, Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement, North York General Hospital

Can you tell us what your new role as Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement will entail?
In my new role, I will lead research focused on partnering with clinicians, patients and families to ensure that patients receive the highest quality care. My research will focus on reducing preventable medical errors and creating innovative solutions in a community academic hospital setting to enhance patient safety and quality of care.

Why is this role important?
The patient safety community hasn't made the progress it anticipated towards reducing medical error since the 2004 landmark report “The Canadian Adverse Events Study: the incidence of adverse events among hospital patients in Canada,” which found that numerous patients are harmed or die as a result of a preventable adverse event (unintended injuries or complications) while in hospitals.

To make significant progress, and ensure health care sustainability, we need to understand and appreciate the challenges not only in the academic hospitals but also in the community. I believe we're at a tipping point. We have momentum with a large number of health care institutions, including North York General Hospital, that believe in transforming their hospitals into high reliability organizations*. The Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement highlights NYGH's commitment to research and innovation in quality improvement and patient safety that will benefit our community and beyond.

How did you come to choose this field of study?
There are two reasons. First, I've always been fascinated with how people think, and why we behave the way we do. Second, struggling with poorly designed technology drives me crazy! When I found out that Human Factors is a discipline that focuses on studying human behaviour and understanding how we can influence behavior by changing the technologies and systems to support people, as opposed to trying to change people, I decided to pursue my doctoral studies in this field.
 
The Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement highlights NYGH's commitment to research and innovation in quality improvement and patient safety that will benefit our community and beyond.
 
The Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement highlights NYGH's commitment to research and innovation in quality improvement and patient safety that will benefit our community and beyond.

Why did you choose to come to North York General Hospital?
The culture here! From the first time I walked into NYGH, I could tell the hospital had a culture of continuous improvement. I say this because even when you walk up and down the stairwells you see posters such as “Every Step Counts” to encourage staff and patients to work on self-improvement. Above all, engaged leadership is clearly key to NYGH's culture of improvement. The leadership encourages individual and collective learning. Health care organizations that embrace these values are poised for success in quality improvement and patient safety endeavours. It's clear to me that I'm at the right place at the right time.

If you could accomplish one thing as Research Chair, what would it be?
If I could accomplish one thing it would be to redefine how we measure safety. We need to focus not only on counting and reducing errors, but also on looking for, and learning from, situations where clinicians are resilient in the face of adversity. We have to proactively identify risks and mitigate them before they cause harm, as opposed to solely reacting once adverse events have already occurred. We have to embrace complexity and figure out where it's needed and where we can reduce it.

Anything else you'd like people to know about Patricia Trbovich?
I love to be creative and to think outside the box. I like to challenge the status quo. I think that's what needed to be a leader in quality improvement and patient safety. You have to have those bold ideas and be confident enough to push for them.

The appointment of the new Research Chair is part of NYGH's overall strategy to transform care through applied research and innovation. Visit our Strategy 2015-2018 for more information. The hospital thanks the North York General Foundation and Brad and Kathy Badeau for a generous and visionary gift to establish the Badeau Family Research Chair in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.

This article first appeared in the September 2016 issue of The Pulse, North York General Hospital's community newsletter. Subscribe to receive 10 issues per year.

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