Unsafe medication is a leading cause of harm, most of it
preventable, in healthcare systems around the world. The World Health
Organization (WHO) has initiated the third Global Patient Safety
Challenge on Medication Safety to focus on improving medication
safety by strengthening the systems for reducing medication errors and
avoidable medication-related harm. The overarching goal is to reduce the level
of severe, avoidable harm related to medications by 50 per cent, over five
Medication safety issues can impact health outcomes, length
of stay in a healthcare facility, readmission rates, and overall costs to
Canada's healthcare system. Preventable
medication hospitalizations cost over $140 million CAD in direct and indirect
healthcare expenditures, with lost productivity, including time off work,
adding $12 million in costs. Globally, the cost associated with medication
errors has been estimated at over $55 billion. The Challenge aims to make
improvements at each stage of the medication process, including prescribing,
dispensing, administering, monitoring and use.
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute
is leading the Medication
Without Harm campaign in Canada. Over the course of the next five
years, together with patients and partners, the Canadian Patient Safety
institute will develop and execute an implementation plan, monitor and evaluate
progress made and work closely with the WHO to ensure the long-term
sustainability of strategies implemented over the course of the campaign. The
Canadian Patient Safety Institute strategic plan, PATIENT
SAFETY RIGHT NOW, calls for medication errors to be reduced by 50
per cent within five years.
Patient Safety Week, to be held October 29 to November 2, 2018,
will focus on the medication safety to reduce
medication errors across Canada. The theme, Not All Meds
Get Along, prompts patients and healthcare practitioners to
seek medication reviews for at-risk populations.
Patients over the age of 65
are at a higher risk of experiencing medication complications. Two out of three
Canadians over the age of 65 take at least five different prescription
medications, while 27 per cent take at least 10 different prescription
medications. An estimated 37 per cent of seniors in nine provinces have
received a prescription for a drug that should not be taken by this population.
In 2016, one in 143 Canadians were hospitalized due to harmful effects from the
medications they were taking.
Medication reviews are
recommended for anyone taking five or more medications; patients who have been
recently discharged from hospital; and anyone who is concerned about the side
effects they, or their loved ones are experiencing. Medication reviews can be
completed by your healthcare provider, or pharmacist.
In collaboration with the Institute for Safe
Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada), the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, the Canadian Pharmacists Association and
the Canadian Society for Hospital
Pharmacists a set of five questions has been developed to help patients and
caregivers start a conversation about medications to improve communications
with their healthcare provider. To increase spread and uptake, 5 Questions to
Ask About Your Medications has been formally endorsed by over
70 organizations and regional health authorities for use within their
organizations and the tool has been translated into 22 languages.
In another partnership with ISMP Canada, a national
interactive webinar series has been developed to facilitate shared learning
from medication incident analyses and safety initiatives. The Med
Safety Exchange is a series of one-hour webinars where frontline practitioners from Canadian healthcare
organizations share key learnings to
encourage participants to identify similar vulnerabilities and safety
opportunities in their own systems and contribute their own strategies for
dealing with identified medication safety issues. The bi-monthly webinar series
will continue into 2019.
In December 2017, Patients for Patient Safety Canada hosted
a webinar on patient
engagement in medication safety. This global webinar series was
designed and facilitated by patient partners.
To address opioid safety and stewardship, the Canadian
Patient Safety Institute, ISMP Canada and Patients for Patient Safety Canada
are working to empower patients and improve their knowledge about the use of
opioids and options for non-medication treatment of pain. Two new tools are now available, including an information card that
provides guidance on the safe storage and disposal of opioids in
the home. The second is a handout to assist patients who have recently been
prescribed an opioid following surgery.
Common questions are addressed to ensure that patients, families and caregivers
have a thorough understanding of how to take these medications properly and
safely. Work will continue to integrate opioid safety tools and resources to
further empower patients to be aware and increase their knowledge about the use
of opioids, including implementing dissemination strategies and tactics to
address left-over and end-of life opioid supplies in the home.
A number of other initiatives are underway to
support the challenge. These include the development of a Medication Safety
Self-Assessment for High Alert Medications to help Canadian health
organizations assess their safeguards and processes in managing high alert
medications; and a safety improvement project, Medication Safety at Transitions
of Care. In addition, ongoing work
relating to the challenge includes: supporting the outreach, education and
feedback related to the implementation of the Protecting Canadians From Unsafe
Drugs Act (Vanessa’s Law); supporting Health Canada’s ongoing work on a Drug
Facts Table for Non-Prescription Drugs; and providing ongoing strategic
guidance and support for the Canadian Mediation Incident Reporting and
Prevention System (CMIRPS,) and to our partners - ISMP Canada, the Canadian Institute for
Health Information (CIHI) and Health Canada.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com