Alberta Health Services continues to make improvements to the health care system in the areas outlined in the recent Auditor General’s report, officials say.
“Since becoming a single health system, AHS has developed common provincial systems that ultimately support the delivery of a high level of patient care,” said Dr. Verna Yiu, leader, quality and chief medical director.
“While the auditor general did recognize several of the improvements that AHS has been able to implement, there are some areas that have been recognized by the AG and AHS as needing further improvement, and we are already working on those.”
The report praised much of the work done recently in the area of infection prevention and control and said that the review found no instances that posed immediate or significant risk to patient safety.
However, AHS acknowledges that more work needs to be done on the development of province-wide systems and procedures to identify and evaluate infection prevention and control at an organizational level.
The report also noted that greater efforts should be made to establish clear oversight with regards to medical device reprocessing and hand hygiene practices of health care workers, something that has been a focus of ongoing attention at AHS.
“AHS will continue to strive to meet a high standard of care in all areas of health care delivery, including the areas of infection prevention and control and hand hygiene practices,” added Dr. Yiu.
“While we have met with much success, we can always do better.”
Over the past several years, AHS has seen a decrease in the rates of hospital acquired infections, has implemented regular reviews of medical device reprocessing (MDR) where they occur, and has introduced training standards and required qualifications for MDR personnel.
In the area of hand hygiene, AHS installed more than 150 hand hygiene stations in areas where patient contact is highest, has made alcohol-based hand rub increasingly available at health care facilities, has installed more hands-free taps and has provided educational materials and engaged in awareness campaigns to increase hand-washing compliance.
These efforts have resulted in a 33% increase in hand washing compliance at health facilities over the past two years, to the current rate of 66.4%.
It is also important to note that AHS meets all Accreditation Canada Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) standards, which are based on research and best practices in the field, as well as standards from the Canadian Standards Association, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Alberta Health’s own provincial IPC standards.