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CPSI Share                                                  
10/30/2013 6:00 PM

​​The spotlight focused on medication safety for Day 3 of Canada’s Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement with over 2,400  viewers from 12 countries, including Canada participating. Our thanks to Jones Packaging and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices – Canada (ISMP-Canada) for their support of today’s program.

Everything and anything you need to know about medication safety was covered, including several informative presentations from ISMP-Canada.  Here are today’s highlights:


Hugh MacLeod, CEO of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute summarizes results from the Canadian Quality MedRec audit.  “This is just one tool for medication reconciliation that can be used to make care safer for Canadians and across the globe,” says Hugh MacLeod. Some 1680 patient charts were audited and 28 per cent met all the rigorous requirements of the audit tool.  A National Call will be held at a later date to provide more fulsome results of the audit.

Cecilia Bloxom, Director of Communications, Canadian Patient Safety Institute outlined the medication safety initiatives, tools and resources available on medication safety, the theme of Canadian Patient Safety Week 2013. “Over 35,000 medication safety posters, 3.5 million medication record sheets attached to tent cards and a number of other tools and resources have been distributed to over 2,100 healthcare facilities across the continuum for Canadian Patient Safety Week,” says Cecilia.  “The medication safety message ASK.LISTEN.TALK. - reinforces that good healthcare starts with a question, ASK; requires an open mind, LISTEN; and a responsive heart, TALK."


 Michelle Trowell-Repsch, Clinical Improvement Facilitator, Sunrise Health Region (Saskatchewan) and Dr. Curtis Johnston, Chief of Medicine, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Alberta Health Services are two of the medication reconciliation (MedRec) champions that provided presentations.

The Sunrise Health Region is changing their culture to a patient-centred focus.  A flash drive is a new and creative way to carry health information that is being trialed in the region. “The Be a Champion of Your Health campaign encourages people to get involved in their health and to carry a medication list,” says Michelle Trowell-Repsch.

“I am amazed at how often a patient will not know what medications they are taking,” says Dr. Curtis Johnston. “Patients often don’t know what meds they should take when they leave the hospital or what meds they should take at home.”  Dr. Johnston outlined the “Granny does Drugs” initiative that was used to get physicians onboard to do medication reconciliation. “We acknowledge that MedRec is hard to do,” says Dr. Johnston.  “It is important and I am hopeful and optimistic that it can be done.”


Lynn Riley, Medication Safety Specialist and Educator, ISMP Canada provided results from the consumer error reporting program (  “People want to share their experiences and information so that they can prevent harm from medication incidents happening to others,” says Lynn Riley. 

Lynn also outlined a joint project with Health Canada on plain language to ensure packaging is clear, accurate and understandable for labelling of pharmaceutical drugs and look alike, sound-alike names for medications.  Lynn also provided an overview of medication safety initiatives in today’s French only presentation.  Lynn is joined by the Moderator for the French presentations, Luc Therrien.


Dr. Michael Hamilton, Consultant and Medication Reconciliation Specialist, ISMP Canada (left) and Ian Sheppard, Project Lead, Canadian Pharmaceutical Bar Code Project, ISMP Canada (right)

Ian Sheppard outlined components of a barcoding resource guide that is being developed to demystify barcoding for medications.  “ISMP Canada will continue to take a stewardship role in the integration of barcoding technology for healthcare providers,” says Ian Sheppard. “Working together in implementing this technology is key to reducing the potential of medication errors.”

Dr. Michael Hamilton provided details of a Coroner’s and Medical Examiners project that looked at reports on medication incidents and related deaths.  “Care outside of regulated facilities by informal caregivers requires vigilance, support and resources,” says Dr. Hamilton.  “Knowledge and support for family members is so important.  Often, there are no formalized education or support mechanisms available in the community and they don’t know where to go to for help.”


Dr. Andre Kushnirik, Professor, School of Health Information Science, University of Victoria is working with ISMP Canada and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute to develop a resource on implementing electronic tools for medication reconciliation (e-MedRec).  An informal poll held during his presentation said that 69 per cent of the Forum participants are using paper-based systems and 31 per cent have implemented electronic processes for MedRec.

“Moving to an e-MedRec is changing the way users communicate,” says Dr. Andre Kushnirik.  “Education, training and evaluation are important factors for the successful implementation of a e-MedRec system. It has to be done carefully and methodically.”

Join the conversation.  Let us know your thoughts on medication safety to #asklistentalk.  Here are some of today’s tweets:

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