How Effective is Your Medication Safety Program?

Do you have a medication safety program? Every hospital would most likely answer yes.

Is your medication safety program effective and do meaningful improvements come out of it? Now that’s a different story.

Personally, I hate busy work, and an ineffective program makes for a lot of busy work with no return. If you’re going to put in all the time and work, it might as well be an effective program. However, the real motivation to evaluate a medication safety program is the patient and the need to make things safer for patient care.

When was the last time you evaluated the content of the Medication Safety Committee? Is most of your meeting monopolized by the Chair showing data of certain measures and categories of medication errors that were reported? Is there actual review of the errors reported with discussion on how to improve a process to minimize those types of errors in the future? Is the committee engaged in the Medication Error Reduction Plan (MERP) and taking an active part in selecting areas for improvement? How well are improvements being tracked and assessed for success? It is okay if the solutions proposed are not at first successful, but there needs to be a way to monitor for success and tweak the solutions if needed. Are the committee members engaged in process improvements? Are the appropriate departments represented on the committee? These are a few of the questions that should be asked.

Never mistake motion for action.– Ernest Hemingway

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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