Unanimously approved by the WFC Board at its May meeting, the project will be overseen by the Research Committee and involve the establishment of an expert task force. Planned projects will include a scoping review, identification of best practices in incident reporting and learning, risk management in chiropractic practice and knowledge translation activities.
In recent years, patient safety has increasingly been in the spotlight as health systems strive to reduce unnecessary incidents and iatrogenic injury.
“With adverse events having the potential to impact trust and confidence in the chiropractic profession, it is important that we do as much as possible to inform ourselves in relation to the risks and benefits of chiropractic treatments and related activities,” said Prof. Richard Brown DC, LL.M, WFC Secretary- General.
“While we know that serious adverse events are rare, patients with multiple co-morbidities and known risk factors require special attention. The WFC GPS Task Force will highlight key areas of patient safety to support chiropractors, build and strengthen the existing safety culture and help to meet the expectations of patients and the public.”
Chiropractors use a package of interventions in their treatment of patients, including hands-on care, adjunct therapies, health promotion, advice and exercise prescription. The process of shared decision-making involves consideration by the chiropractor of the suitability and safety of each intervention. In addition to direct patient care, chiropractors also have a duty to consider the safety of their offices and clinics.
A WHO resolution on patient safety, passed in 2019 at the World Health Assembly, made a commitment to take global action in tackling avoidable harm.
Its subsequent publication, Global Action on Patient Safety, set out goals and targets to reduce morbidity from healthcare related incidents.
Chair of the Task Force and Research Committee vice-chair, Dr Katie Pohlman DC, PhD, said: “With the current global focus on patient safety, I’m proud to be leading this WFC Task Force, which will support the chiropractic profession but, most importantly, work to minimize adverse events and protect patients.
“The creation of an open, transparent culture of patient safety is key to maintaining trust and credibility. The Task Force is looking forward to adding to the body of knowledge and advancing safe, evidence-based, people-centered practice.”
The WFC GPS Task Force will report to Research Committee Chair, Assoc. Prof Sidney Rubinstein. It will include members of the existing Research Committee as well as external experts.
At first, most people will think: WHAT A GOOD IDEA!
After a bit of reflection, however, some might ponder: WHY ONLY NOW AND NOT DECADES AGO?
And after reading the above text carefully, skeptics might feel that the exercise can already be classified as a PR gimmick that will not generate the needed information:
- The WFC has yet again failed to establish a monitoring system of adverse effects; without it ‘patient safety’ is not achievable.
- They claim that “we know that serious adverse events are rare”. How do they know this? And if they already are convinced of this, the new task force is bound to be a pure ‘white wash’.
- They think an “existing safety culture” exists in chiropractic. This is wishful thinking and far from reality.
- They speak of the “expectations of patients and the public” but ignore the need for a monitoring system accessible to the public.