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What we learned at BMJ FORUM 2018

Juliët Beuken & Mara Bouwmans

May 9, 2018


Last week, Mara and Juliët attended BMJ’s International Forum on Quality and Safety in Healthcare in Amsterdam.
In this blogpost, we’ll share some things we learned during these inspiring days!

In the absence of feedback, we all think we’re perfect.
Guess what, we’re not! That is why feedback is so essential when improving quality! However, providing feedback, both positive and negative, can be challenging. Luckily, there are many strategies to improve the structure of your feedback. And practice makes perfect.

Transforming patient safety together: Stop The Line!
Talking about feedback, Stop The Line is an excellent example of ways to create feedback opportunities. Stop The Line is originally invented by Toyota, where every line worker in the car factory is able to stop production whenever a defect on the production line has been noticed. Healthcare professionals should also be able react and act when they notice a risk for patient safety. In order to do so, an open, team-based patient safety culture is necessary. The implementation of Stop The Line in several healthcare institutions has empowered healthcare professionals to pause a procedure if they see a patient safety risk, moving from a reactive to a proactive attitude. Do you, as a healthcare professional in your institute, feel empowered to “Stop” for safer care?

Praise effort rather than ability.
Working on the SafePAT-project means working with a group of intelligent and creative professionals. Although we may tend to focus on these abilities, appointing the efforts that team members put into SafePAT is essential for creating a supportive atmosphere.

Create an impact by telling stories.
In one of the sessions, we learned how to spread our messages in a way that creates more impact. Besides knowing your aim and audience, being able to identify with the message is of great importance. Telling those stories that speak for itself, that summarize the aim of our project, is a powerful tool for converting a message.

Ask: “What really matters to you right now?”
In healthcare, people might experience needs that do not necessarily have to do with the reason for their hospitalization. By asking others what matters to them at that moment, you might be able to bring some joy by unexpectedly small random acts of kindness.

Involve your patients.
Actively engaging patients and their family in healthcare has been shown to lead to more positive healthcare outcomes. Studies showed that the amount of re-admissions and complications reduced when the patient-clinician relationship improved and when patients experienced a positive encounter with their clinician. Do you ever put yourself in the place of your patients and consider what you as a patient would want to know? You only need this small thought experiment to change the way patients experience your care.

Want to know more about our activities? Find us on LinkedIn!


Links to Patient Safety Information

January 17, 2018

Below you find a list of relevant links where patient safety is addressed:






Presenting SafePAT

Juliët Beuken, PhD student

November 1, 2017

SHE Presents is an event organized by the School of Health Professions Education of Maastricht University (NL) at which PhD students present their research proposals. In the most recent session, I presented my research proposal, with four studies that will contribute to SafePAT. In preparation of this presentation, I asked myself what people needed to know in order to understand the relevance of SafePAT.

Since SHE has a very international group of PhD students, an introduction about the Euregion Meuse-Rhine, in which SafePAT takes place, is required. Thus, I started explaining how in this region, three countries are situated and three languages are spoken in a radius of fifty kilometers. Also, there are many healthcare institutions in this region, among which four large hospitals. Lastly, we suspect that patients travel between these different hospitals in different countries to seek healthcare. The truth is, we do not exactly know if and how this happens, and what risks are in this complex process of cross-border healthcare.

From that point on, introducing SafePAT was a logical next step: we will work towards understanding and supporting cross-border handover in the Euregion Meuse-Rhine. Maastricht University is especially focused on understanding stakeholders’ needs and support by means of training. My research proposal is embedded in this part of SafePAT.

On Friday 13th (!!!) of October, I presented my research proposal in front of a multidisciplinary audience. In reaction, I received many interesting questions and valuable input. Did I succeed in explaining SafePAT and my research proposal in this presentation? See for yourself at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbNpOPFZM0U.



Exploring cross-border healthcare use

Mara Bouwmans, research psychologist

September 12, 2017

Traveling across borders to receive healthcare wasn’t on my agenda as a research psychologist in the upper-north of the Netherlands. That changed the day I got involved in this project at Maastricht University. In the area around Maastricht, the Euregion Meuse-Rhine (EMR), cross-border healthcare use is commonplace for several reasons. Some patients choose to go abroad because of shorter waiting lists of a certain surgery while others have to be transferred across the border because of the nearness of a level-1 trauma center. Within SafePAT we spend our days trying to understand the complexities of cross-border healthcare in a trilingual region as the EMR, and by that we seek for ways to optimize patient safety in the provided care.

The past months we talked with several healthcare professionals to sound out their opinion on and experiences with cross-border healthcare. We heard about cultural and organizational differences, learned all about checklists that are used when a patient is transferred, and saw how our colleagues in Isselburg locally improved cross-border collaboration by training local medical teams and adapting the communication gear in the German ambulance.

This month we start with an exploratory study that quantifies and characterizes cross-border healthcare use in the EMR. The first survey will be distributed by the end of September. With this survey we ask healthcare providers in hospitals and mobile medical teams to share their experiences and opinions. We want to find out what procedures are used, how professionals are trained to handle cross-border patient transfers, and where improvement should start to optimize patient-safety in cross-border healthcare use. The output of this survey will lead the project team towards directions advancing healthcare and patient safety in this region. I already look forward to share the first results with you! In the meantime my SafePAT colleagues will share their experiences with cross-border healthcare with you from their professional perspective.