Patients for Patient Safety Canada

Getting the Public Ready to Engage in Making Care Safer: Lessons from the Anti-Smoking Movement 

“We are all patients, eventually. The more we all understand what is needed for safety in healthcare, the sooner every patient will be safe.” - Patient 

Patient engagement is viewed by many to be a critical component of achieving safe healthcare. We need to engage all patients – the public – to help increase safer healthcare practices.  

Other prevention efforts, such as the campaign to decrease smoking, have effectively engaged the public in achieving significant cultural shifts in attitudes and actions. For instance, anti-smoking efforts have made it unacceptable to smoke with your children in the car. The efforts toward increasing patient safety could benefit from the lessons learned in the anti-smoking campaigns. There is much to be learned. 

Webinar and presentation 

Designed by patient and family champions, this interactive webinar and presentation was offered by Patients for Patient Safety Canada in April 2017.

View Transcript

For this session the term patient safety champion includes any individual that volunteers as a patient or family representative in programs, groups, networks or organizations working to improve quality and safety in healthcare.  

The session includes conversation among participants, contributing to the dialogue verbally or via chat, including: 

  • How have anti-smoking efforts effectively achieved a cultural shift in attitudes and actions towards tobacco?  
  • Which are the key patient safety messages most important for widespread public engagement and would most help the public to be ready to take on a role in patient safety? 
  • Which strategies would make patient safety messages most visible and provide the public with information about patient safety? 

At the end of this interactive session, participants left with at least one practical idea to engage the public in making healthcare safer. 

Speakers, moderator and participants

Les Hagen

Les Hagen is the executive director of Action on Smoking and Health which is Western Canada's leading tobacco control organization. For over 25 years, he has provided provincial and national leadership in tobacco control and prevention.  Les is a strong believer in community engagement and healthy public policy. He provides a history of anti-tobacco advocacy, including: 

  • How a significant public shift was achieved relative to attitudes and actions related to tobacco use. 
  • Which strategies worked best to engage the public in decreasing use of tobacco. 
  • Which strategies were not effective.

Theresa Malloy-Miller

Theresa Malloy-Miller is a Patient Champion at Patients for Patient Safety Canada and moderates the dialogue among the participants to apply lessons learned from anti-smoking advocacy to patient safety. 

All participants were asked to add their ideas about key patient safety messages for public engagement and how best to apply anti-smoking strategies to the field of patient safety.