Five representatives of the World Alliance for Patient Safety attended the International Forum on Quality and Safety in Health Care in Paris. The conference was held between 22 and 25 April 2008. It was the first time that the event had been dedicated to improving quality and safety in health care. During sessions and workshops more then 2000 health care professionals from over 70 countries worldwide presented a lot of valuable and inspiring ideas on how this can be done in practice in hospitals, outpatient clinics, etc.
Our group: Marty Hatlie (USA), Helen Hughes (WHO UK), Nagwa Metwally (Egypt), Fedir Petkanych (Ukraine) and Jolanta Bilińska (Poland) conducted a minicourse entitled "Patients as partners: effectively engaging patients in advancing quality and safety". I was very surprised that the conference attendants were interested so much in our presentation. The number of questions asked and the discussion that was stimulated when mentioning options for engaging patients in treatment process proved the significance of the problem.
It would be difficult to mention the most interesting sessions and workshops, because it was worth to participate in all of them. Before coming to Paris each participant chose a subject he/she was interested in. I chose presentation on strategy of advancing quality and safety in hospitals based on the example of the United States, Singapore and Great Britain, among others. It was proved that by cooperation of medical service employees, i.e. physicians, nurses, laboratory employees and diagnostic equipment technicians the time patients stay at a medical institution may be shortened from 8 to 2 hours. Song Khim Chua implemented such a program in the hospital in Singapore. At present the first stage of the procedure of admitting a patient to the hospital is not registration by specialized physicians, laboratory and diagnostic examinations. At the very beginning a special medical council decides on overall medical care over the patient. The patient who is admitted to hospital at 8 a.m. may not only leave the hospital at 10 a.m. with all documents including diagnosis and prescriptions, but he/she may also express any doubts to a team of specialized physicians. In case of traditional treatment model patients were admitted to hospital at 8 a. m. and left in the afternoon.
Conference attendants devoted much attention to patients' opinions given in questionnaires, which are important when assessing effectiveness and safety of treatment. Piera Poletti (Italy), Andrew Thompson (UK) and Diana Delnoij (the Netherlands) presented results of the tests obtained so far.
Except for sessions and workshops on all walls there were posters presenting reports and results of tests regarding the role of patients, their rights and obligations in treatment process, training sessions for medical staff and accreditation systems for health care institutions worldwide.
It was a very important conference for us, PFPS champions. We had to choose whether to attend a lecture on implementing sanitary standards in the third world countries or on reporting medical errors, which was delivered at the same time in the next room. We tried to learn as much as we could to ensure that all we do in our country becomes even more effective.