Medication Safety Tips
Join us at the beginning of every month for new medication safety tips to share with your pharmacies!
Quality Assurance Discussions – Improving Data Entry
Pharmacies are encouraged to have Quality Assurance discussion and workflow reviews that focus on the following:
- Data entry workarounds and shortcuts that have been eliminated due to the safe redesign
- Data entry simplification
- Employee awareness of high alert medications
- Other undescribed contributing actors that can or have resulted in data entry error (e.g. interruptions and distractions)
For more information, or to get your Medication Safety and Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program started, go to https://medicationsafety.org/sign-up.php or give APMS® a call at (866)365-7472!
Review workflow for all medications where multi-component products are stored in different locations in the pharmacy:
- Make sure pharmacy employees are aware of all multi-component products
- Auxiliary labels or overwrapping should be applied to the main component to alert users to the unique storage conditions
- The computer system can include an alert to remind pharmacists and technicians to dispense all components
- The feasibility of acting on suggestions from employees
Frontline feedback can be used to identify risk and reduce possible errors in the future. This works best if the pharmacy encourages open discussion without the fear of embarrassment and has ultimately implemented a culture of safety.
For example, in a QA meeting, a technician comments that lack of counter space causes a "pile-up" of prescriptions, which she feels could result in an error. In a strong culture, the technician and the comment are treated respectfully and results in a team discussion leading to improvements. For more information, or to get your Medication Safety Program started, go to www.medicationsafety.or/sign-up.php or contact us at (866)365-7472!
To prevent drugs from being chosen off the shelf in error, the following systems should be in place:
a. Mandatory bar-code scanning
b. Separator walls on the shelf
c. Use of tall-man lettering for the shelf labels
d. Separate storage bins
e. "Un-alphabetical" storage for medications with similar prefixes
f. Use of brand AND generic names on the shelf labels of "LASA" (look-alike-sound-alike) medications
For more information, or to get your Medication Safety Program started, go to www.medicationsafety.or/sign-up.php or contact us at (866)365-7472!
The Independent double-check system is a hallmark of safe design. Implement a system that requires two technicians to independently verify correct data entry before the label can be printed.
Encourage pharmacists to engage patients in their prescriptions. Encouraging patient counseling on high-alert medications and implementing procedures such as "open the bag" (review with the patient the contents of the bag at the point of sale) can help reduce risk. For more information, or to get your Medication Safety Program started, go to www.medicationsafety.or/sign-up.php or contact us at (866)365-7472!