Track 19: Medication Safety

Medication safety

SA Health is committed to enhancing medicines management to improve the safety and quality of medicines used in order to promote optimal patient outcomes.

The SA Health Medication Safety Program and the SA Medication Safety Advisory Group (SAMSAG), the highest SA Health Advisory group promoting medicine safety, are at the heart of this commitment.

Medication safety refers to the use of medications in a safe manner to achieve therapeutic outcomes and improve people’s quality of life while minimizing risks and responding to errors.

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Medication safety is of utmost importance in healthcare, as errors or issues related to medications can have serious consequences for patient well-being. Ensuring the safe and effective use of medications is a critical aspect of healthcare delivery. Here are key reasons why medication safety is important:

  1. Patient Well-Being:
    • The primary goal of medication safety is to protect patients from harm and adverse effects. Ensuring the correct prescription, dosage, and administration of medications is essential for patient well-being and positive health outcomes.
  2. Prevention of Medication Errors:
    • Medication errors, such as prescribing the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or administration errors, can lead to serious harm or even fatalities. Prioritizing medication safety helps prevent these errors and enhances patient safety.
  3. Quality of Care:
    • Medication safety is integral to providing high-quality healthcare. Ensuring that patients receive the right medications, at the right doses, and through the correct routes of administration contributes to the overall quality of care.
  4. Patient Trust and Confidence:
    • Medication safety practices build patient trust and confidence in healthcare providers and the healthcare system. Patients need assurance that the medications prescribed are safe, effective, and will not cause harm.
  5. Avoidance of Adverse Drug Reactions (ADR):
    • Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) can occur when patients experience harmful effects from medications. Medication safety measures aim to minimize the risk of ADRs by careful monitoring, education, and appropriate prescribing.
  6. Chronic Disease Management:
    • Many patients with chronic conditions require long-term medication therapy. Ensuring the safety of these medications is crucial for managing chronic diseases effectively and preventing complications.

Medication Safety Program

The Medication Safety Program aims to prevent adverse medication events by assisting clinicians and empowering patients to achieve best practice in medication management by implementing proven and sustainable strategies that are integrated across all health settings.

The Program adheres to the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards and is guided by state, national, and international objectives.

The Medicines and Technology Programs Branch oversees the Medication Safety Program, which contributes to the overall strategy to improve outcomes from medicine use coordinated by the South Australian Medicines Advisory Committee (SAMAC).

Program initiatives

Medication Safety Program initiatives include:

  • Assisting healthcare organizations with medication safety accreditation (National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 4 – Medication Safety)
  • Standardized labels on medicines, fluids, and lines can help reduce the risk of medication administration errors.
  • When prescribing and administering medications, use standardized medication terminology, abbreviations, dose expressions, and symbols.
  • Standard medication charts are provided for patient care.
  • Implementing pharmaceutical reforms to improve medication management for patients transitioning from the hospital to the community by gaining access to medicines through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).
  • Emphasizing high-risk medications and related strategies.
  • Supporting and reporting functions for safety audits.
  • Medication safety training and development.
  • assisting in the development of state-wide medication-related policies and guidelines

National Safety and Quality Health Service Standard 3 – Medication Safety

In November 2017, the second edition of the NSQHS Standards was published. The second edition will be assessed beginning in January 2019.

The Medication Safety Standard is intended to ensure that clinicians are competent to safely prescribe, dispense, and administer appropriate medications, as well as to monitor medication use. It is also intended to ensure that consumers are well-informed about medicines and understand their specific medication requirements and risks.


Clinical governance and quality improvement to support medication management

Organization-wide systems are used to support and promote safety in the procurement, supply, storage, compounding, manufacturing, prescribing, dispensing, administering, and monitoring of medicine effects.

Documentation of patient information

When beginning an episode of care, the best possible medication history is recorded for the patient. Clinicians have access to the best possible medication history as well as information about medication allergies and adverse drug reactions.

Continuity of medication management

A patient’s medications are reviewed, and they are given information about their medication needs and risks. When care is transferred, a medication list is given to both the patient and the receiving clinician.

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Top 10 best medical Safety colleges in the world

  • Harvard University, United States
  • University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Stanford University, United States
  • University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Johns Hopkins University, United States
  • University of California, Los Angeles, United States
  • Yale University, United States
  • UCL, United Kingdom
  • Imperial College, London
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

Sub-tracks of Medication Safety

Safety in Older Adults, Polypharmacy, Opioid Medication Safety, Opioid Medication Safety, Nursing-Sensitive Medication Safety, Drug

-:Medication Safety Associations::-

  • Drug Information Association
  • The International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology
  • The Drug Safety Research Unit (DSRU)
  • Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)
  • Alliance for Patient Medication Safety
  • American Osteopathic Association PSO
  • Braden Health PSO
  • Center for Patient Safety
  • Center for the Assessment of Radiological Sciences PSO

Medication Safety Organizations:

  • Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers Patient Safety Organization
  • American Medical Foundation Patient Safety Organization
  • Anesthesia Patient Safety Organization (ANPSO)
  • APMD Quality and Patient Safety Organization, LLC
  • Ascension Healthcare Patient Safety Organization
  • Atrium Health Patient Safety Organization
  • Care Standards Organization, LLC
  • Caresyntax Patient Safety Organization
  • Carolinas Rehabilitation – Patient Safety Organization
  • Cassatt Patient Safety Organization