St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital announces implementation of the MOREOB Program

Article appeared in the  St. Thomas Times-Journal at www.stthomastimesjournal.com on March 7, 2009

When it comes to birthing babies, St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital has a new program in place which aims to keep mothers and their newborns as safe as possible while in hospital care.

Called Managing Obstetrical Risk Efficiency (MOREOB), it's a three-year program which aims to boost patient safety by bringing doctors, nurses and other obstetric personnel together and creating a culture wherein safety is key.

"Every obstetrical unit in this program will develop and sustain a culture where patient safety is the priority ... focusing on patient safety all the time. And not just in emergency situations," said Colleen Aguilar, MOREOB representative. "It's not about setting unrealistic goals ... . It's about seeing those results on a day-to-day basis."

The program boosts safety by increasing communication between staff, bringing them together as a team and practicing through emergency drills.

Each year, everyone in obstetrics goes through a module, with support and training from MOREOB staff.

The first year, for instance, involves a lot of reading and review of clinical examination practices which everyone is required to read.

"I guarantee you will see a cultural change at the end of this module," said Dr. Jim Ruiter. From there, reading declines and practical skills training is emphasized.

Ruiter explained that clinical error is a serious problem for the medical profession. He listed a 2004 report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal stating that between 9,000 and 24,000 die every year as a result of errors by health care providers.

"It's obviously a very important program. The health care industry has learned a lot about the issues of unintended error that has become well-studied now," said STEGH CEO Paul Collins. "As an industry now we're paying much closer attention to things that cause error. This MOREOB program is really going to help us in this endeavour."

TD Canada Trust donated $50,000 over two years to help offset the costs of the program, estimated at $50,000 to $60,000 per year.