Medication safety movement growing

11 Canadian organizations committed to improving medication safety

EDMONTON, April 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Reducing the number of medication errors in Canada is the aim of a new collaboration between eleven national organizations committed to increasing patient safety, announced Hugh MacLeod, CEO, Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).

With a growing partnership of Canadian organizations coming to the table in support of this life-saving work, we have dedicated leadership across the country to address the need for and importance of better communication around medications.

"This work began in February 2011 when the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada), the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), and Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) in collaboration with key stakeholders, hosted a national summit to provide important solutions to improving communication and reducing preventable medication errors at transitions of care," says Hugh MacLeod, CEO, CPSI.

"We applaud the organizations that have recognized the importance of this work and invested themselves in the effort to improve medication safety," says David U, CEO, ISMP Canada."

The organizations that have joined the medication safety movement include:

"By coming together, these eleven organizations who collectively reach and represent thousands of healthcare providers have created a unique collaboration with the common goal of advancing medication reconciliation across Canada, a proven strategy to reduce harm to patients," said Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, Senior Vice President, Clinical Adoption and Innovation, Canada Health Infoway (Infoway). 

These organizations are working with ISMP Canada, CPSI and Infoway in actively supporting strategies to improve medication safety and call on all healthcare professionals to contribute to effective communication around medication at all transitions of care to improve the safety and quality of the Canadian healthcare system.

Medication failures impact everyone

Safe patient care depends on accurate information. Patients benefit when clinicians work with patients, families and their colleagues to collect and share comprehensive medication information. Medication reconciliation is a formal process to do this at care transitions, such as when patients enter the hospital, are transferred or go home. Not only can medication errors result in loss of life or prolonged disability for patients, they place added stress on the system and reduced access to healthcare services due to readmission as well as loss of public confidence in the healthcare system.

  • Healthcare is increasingly complex as we care for a rapidly growing number of patients who are older and/or have chronic diseases with multiple medications. By 2015, Canada will have more people aged 65 and older than people under the age of 15.
  • In 2009, approximately 483 million prescriptions were dispensed in Canadian retail pharmacies.
  • 1 in 9 adults who visit the emergency department do so as a result of a drug-related adverse event and 1 in 3 of these will be admitted.
  • 20 per cent of patients discharged from acute care facilities experience an adverse event and of those 66 per cent are drug related.

Modern medications help millions of patients every year, but when problems occur, the potential for harm to the people we serve is high; and the consequences for patients and their families, our healthcare system and at the broader society level can be devastating.  Healthcare professionals, patients and families all have a role to play in improving communication about medications.

About the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)
The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is an independent not-for-profit corporation, operating collaboratively with health professionals and organizations, regulatory bodies and governments to build and advance a safer healthcare system for Canadians. CPSI performs a coordinating and leadership role across health sectors and systems, promotes leading practices and raises awareness with stakeholders, patients and the general public about patient safety.

About the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada)
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada) is an independent national not-for-profit agency committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings. ISMP Canada works collaboratively with the healthcare community, regulatory agencies and policy makers, provincial, national, and international patient safety organizations, the pharmaceutical industry, and the public to promote safe medication practices. ISMP Canada's mandate includes analyzing medication incidents, making recommendations for the prevention of harmful medication incidents, and facilitating quality improvement initiatives

About Infoway
Canada Health Infoway is an independent, not-for-profit organization funded by the federal government. Infoway jointly invests with every province and territory to accelerate the development and adoption of electronic health record projects in Canada. Fully respecting patient confidentiality, these secure systems will provide clinicians and patients with the information they need to better support safe care decisions and manage their own health. Accessing this vital information quickly will help foster a more modern and sustainable healthcare system for all Canadians.

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SOURCE Canadian Patient Safety Institute

For further information:

Cecilia Bloxom
Director of Communications
Canadian Patient Safety Institute 
Phone (780) 700-8642

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