Ontario hospitals will no longer be able to investigate medical errors in secrecy. The government has taken initiative to challenge the existing Quality of Care Information Protection Act (QCIPA) to allow for more transparency.
The Quality of Care Information Protection Act (QCIPA) allowed medical practitioners to examine an error that occurred with a patient that was in their care without having to disclose the information to the patients loved ones. Consequently, many loved ones and family members were left in the dark about what medical errors had taken place in treating their loved ones. Medical practitioners were left unaccounted for their responsibility in the act and patients were unaware of what had taken place while their loved one was under hospital care.
The quality of care legislation passed in 2004 allowed medical professionals to discuss medical errors amongst each other behind closed doors to ensure better medical care in the future but did not involve loved ones in the process. The new amendments to the QCIPA would provide loved ones with more transparency and involvement in the investigation.
Under the new QCIPA amendments loved ones will now have the right to call for an independent inquiry into the medical error. Furthermore, the government has stressed the need to create a public registry that lists all critical-care incidents that occur in Ontario hospitals. The use of the original QCIPA was used in vast variations within hospitals for instance some hospitals would use the legislation after every critical incident while others would rarely use the legislation.
Health Minister Hoskin wants to amend the existing legislation to help grieving families get the answers they need to find closure to the loss of their loved ones. For instance, Mr. Tiwari had left his son in the care of Brampton Civic Hospital under suicide watch only to find his son had hung himself while in the hospitals care.
The most significant changes would include:
- Designing a set of guidelines explaining when and how hospitals are to use the QCIPA to ensure consistency in the use of the legislation.
- Amending the act to allow for patients and loved ones to be fully informed about the critical care incident and the results of the hospital investigation. The results will also include what took place and the measures the hospital will take to prevent such future incidents.
- Putting in place an appeal option for the scrutiny of critical incidents for patients and their families that are unsatisfied with the hospital review. This process will allow patients and family members to request an investigation from a third party, possibly the Office of the Patient Ombudsman.
- Creating a publicly accessible database/registry with information about every critical incident investigated in Ontario hospitals, including the type of incident, the cause of the incident and suggestions to prevent future such incidents.
- Loved ones and patients must be interviewed as part of the process of inspection of critical incidents and be fully informed of the results.
Points of Discussion:
- Does these amendments provide some peace of mind for you?
- How effective do you think the implementation of the new amendments will be?
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