eSafety Community of Action
eSafety Guidelines

Patient safety has become a major concern in healthcare. Key Canadian and international reports, starting more than a decade ago, have consistently underscored the importance of being safety conscious in healthcare. Many of these reports also emphasize the leading, preventive and corrective practices necessary for the reporting, analysis, and avoidance of medical errors that often lead to adverse, more serious healthcare events.

COACH envisions that all stakeholders in the eSafety ecosystem involved in design, implementation and use of eHealth solutions will want to embrace a culture of eSafety and will need best practice-based guidelines on how to implement and incorporate eHealth safety in their existing methodologies. The new COACH eSafety Guidelines complement the current culture of patient safety in clinical care delivery and foster the accelerated adoption of safer eHealth solutions and health software, such that health informatics professionals can rapidly move their organized to an optimized level of maturity.

eSafety Guidelines: Landmark Patient Safety Resource
Health informatics (HI) professionals, including healthcare providers, can turn to a landmark best-practice resource to help them enhance patient safety around eHealth systems – the COACH 2013 eSafety Guidelines.

COACH conducted extensive research across Canada and around the world, in collaboration with a host of subject matter experts, to develop the Guidelines in response to growing concerns about patient safety. Input from eight leading healthcare organizations’ trial use of the resource was used to finalize the document and maximize its relevancy and usefulness in real-life situations.

More than two years in the making, the 148-page book provides a foundational model for Canadian healthcare institutions and programs implementing, operating, maintaining and improving an eSafety management program (eSMP).

Our eSafety Guidelines represent a giant step forward in providing HI professionals, including healthcare providers, with practical guidance and tools to identify and manage inadvertent patient safety risks. This resource provides a truly comprehensive, holistic approach to eSafety that complements the current patient safety culture in clinical care delivery and fosters the accelerated adoption of safer eHealth systems.

Users will benefit from practical content such as:

  • Background information on eSafety in particular and patient safety in general;
  • Detailed eSafety recommendations, based on industry best practices and international standards;
  • Two case studies; and
  • Tools, such as checklists,a risk register template, a gap analysis framework, in the Appendices.

eSafety Guidelines is based on well accepted principles of quality and risk management, security safeguards and human factors design, coming together to achieve a sustainable approach to eSafety.There has been widespread support for and interest in the document in Canada and around the world.

COACH eSafety Guidelines Trial: A Unique HI Professional Resource

In partnership with COACH, leading public and private sector organizations across the Canadian health informatics space put the trial edition of the COACH eSafety Guidelines to work in six projects across Canada from June through September 2013.

COACH developed the trial edition as part of its eSafety Program to provide tools for identifying and managing inadvertent patient safety risks related to eHealth solutions. The first Canadian resource of its kind, the Guidelines provide a comprehensive, holistic approach to eSafety that will complement the current culture of patient safety. The trial feedback was used to help finalize the Guidelines.

Each organization, through their respective trials, exercised the Guidelines methodology and produced an eSafety Case for their eHealth solutions. The eSafety Case confirms that the development, deployment and use of an eHealth solution or health software will not pose an unacceptable safety risk to patients. A prospective assessment, the eSafety case is an adjunct to an organization’s overall project processes that already encompass risk management and related risk or regulatory assessments [e.g. Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs), Threat and Risk Assessments (TRAs), etc] and like these processes, works to prevent adverse events before they occur.

eSafety Education Front & Centre

In supporting the uptake of the eSafety Guidelines, COACH provided in-depth education workshops for Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Canada Health Infoway.

These workshops are a great way to profile eSafety principles and best practices, as well as the method-based case approach espoused by the Guidelines towards ensuring the ‘eSafety’ of digital health solutions.

Working with AHS senior leadership, COACH organized and delivered an on-site education day on the eSafety Guidelines in conjunction with the National HI eSafety Summit that took place in Edmonton in October 2015. In preparation for the education day, COACH provided AHS clinical and IT facilitators, as well as Alberta Health staff and patient and family advisors, with online education. Likewise with Infoway, COACH provided an initial virtual orientation session, followed up by an in-person education workshop, the latter of which involved their senior clinical and program leads from across the country.