APMS News & Updates

Stay up-to-date with the lastest news and updates direct from Alliance for Patient Medication Safety®.


Medication Safety Tips

Join us at the beginning of every month for new medication safety tips to share with your pharmacies!
November 5, 2019

Patient Counseling

Patient Counseling is a multi-step process that includes:

  1. determining when counseling is needed or required per policy on high-alert medications
  2. choosing the appropriate intensity or depth of the professional counseling
  3. assessing the patient’s comprehension of the drug information and/or device use
  4. achieving expected patient behaviors

None of the above steps will be relevant if the patient does not accept an offer to counsel. Therefore, improving the effectiveness of patient counseling begins with increasing the number of patients who accept offers for counseling.

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!



Baskets

Dispensing/fill baskets are recommended practices to keep the prescription workflow area organized while minimizing the risk that the wrong product is put in a different patient's supply. Each patient must have their own basket (including mother/infant) - NO exceptions. 

Baskets can help organize the work-counter; however, their safety value is easily defeated if:

  • any stock can be placed on the counter
  • unlabeled vials are placed in the workflow
  • vials and labels are not kept within the basket
  • there is no single pharmacist/technician who can claim "ownership" of a given basket

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!



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 
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!



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!


 


APMS Medication Safety Champion Award

APMS® Presents the Medication Safety Champion Award to Bartell Drugs Quality Committee and Korman Healthcare Pharmacy
August 23, 2019

Richmond, Virginia, August 9, 2019 – The Alliance for Patient Medication Safety (APMS®) announces the Bartell Drugs Quality Committee and Korman Healthcare Pharmacy as recipients for the APMS® Medication Safety Champion award, June 19, 2019.

This award honors a pharmacy team who has demonstrated outstanding commitment to, and support of, a culture of safety in their pharmacy. APMS® is proud to work with so many dedicated pharmacists and technicians that make patient safety a focused priority.

The mission of APMS® is to foster a culture of quality within the profession of pharmacy that promotes a continuous systems analysis to develop best practices that will reduce medication errors, improve medication use, and enhance patient care. Pharmacies work with APMS® to look for inherent risks in the pharmacy’s workflow. Their program, Pharmacy Quality Commitment +TM (PQC+) is an interactive CQI program that provides tools and resources for the pharmacy workforce to identify, report, and analyze quality-related patient safety events. APMS® provides staff training, a secure online reporting portal, feedback, and safe practice recommendations. APMS® has been a federally listed Patient Safety Organization (PSO) since 2008. The PSO is a 501 c 3 supporting organization of the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA). 

Learn more about programs offered by APMS®, visit http://www.medicationsafety.org.

Contact info:

Alliance for Patient Medication Safety

2530 Professional Road

N. Chesterfield, VA. 23235

866-365-7472

 

                                                                                         

 


APMS Membership

What is APMS and what are the benefits of joining a Patient Safety Organization?
March 27, 2019

Access the APMS Brochure here: APMS PQC+ Brochure

APMS is a federally listed Patient Safety Organization (PSO). More info here: APMS Membership Flyer