Look out for the spoonful of sugar coming your way this week

Posted by Chip Gresham, Clinical Director of Medication Safety on 19 November 2014 |

medication safety group 426

Hi everyone, Chip Gresham here on behalf of the medication safety service. We’re launching some new initiatives this week and our team will be visiting the wards to discuss what we’ve been planning. We want your feedback and ideas on how we can improve medication safety across the hospital and you can even win an iTunes voucher by identifying a medicated-related risk before an incident happens! See details later.

Middlemore seems to be ahead of the curve on lots of things and medication safety is no exception. Unlike many hospitals our core medication safety team is composed of pharmacy, nursing and physician staff. This truly multidisciplinary approach results in not only innovative ideas, but ideas that are practical in our day-to-day care of patients. Our goal is to make it easier to do the right thing.

I’ve attended a few HQSC meetings recently and in occasional chats with those from other DHBs, they seem impressed, even a bit envious, of our multi-disciplinary approach. Those above my pay-grade deserve the credit here. It was their forward-thinking and open-mindedness that led to the creation of the new medication safety service at MMH.

We all know the reasons behind our vigilance around medication safety – it’s about the patient, pure and simple. But not content with getting out a big stick and telling everyone what they should and shouldn’t do, the team and I have decided to turn things on their head and start some conversations with you, our colleagues.

We’ve set up a short online survey to take a look at the culture of prescribing. This was created after many, many informal conversations and comments from nurses, pharmacists, RMOs and consultants about prescribing specifically. You asked for it…. you got it. You can find it on the front page of Southnet this week and it will take about 6-8 minutes to complete. So finish reading this…and jump straight to the survey!

Not only do we want eight minutes of your time for the survey…we also want your IDEAS and SOLUTIONS! Our ideas sheet (also known as the Medication Safety Form) was created to capture your ideas about how we can do things better in the area of med safety before something happens.

prescribing survey

Complete the Prescribing Survey before 7 December 2014

I want to stress that it’s not an incident report, but an opportunity to share what you see. For example, if you opened a medication cupboard and found that not only were Diltiazem and Diazapam sitting right beside each other, but they were in very similar vials and you realised just how easy it would be for someone to inadvertently pick up the wrong med, fill in the form because we’d love to hear from you. No thought, idea or concern is too small.

I believe that long before a medication safety event occurs someone, somewhere ‘saw it coming’. Let’s all do our best to reduce the possibilities. Complete the form and let us know so that together we can explore solutions.

We have other initiatives in the pipeline, too. We’re working with the HQSC on high-risk medication with opiates first off the block. And, we’re also developing a hospital-wide gap analysis tool about the med safety gaps that need addressing, something we are aiming to rollout next year so watch this space.

Medication safety is something that requires cooperation across all disciplines. We all have a part to play and I encourage you to look out for the team as we visit your ward this week. We’d love to hear your thoughts via the survey, which will be open until 7 December, and receive your ideas via the form. And don’t forget that carrot we’ve got dangling: the top three ‘ideas’ (as assessed by the Medication Safety team) received before 5pm this Thursday (20 November) will win iTunes vouchers!

On behalf of the team, thanks for taking the time to read this blog and we look forward to hearing from you.

Members of the Medication Safety Group are:

Marie Lewis, Chip Gresham, Trevor Lloyd, Jane Farris, Anne Blumgart, Sanjoy Nand, Anne Goddard, Tony Zheng and Tanya Crompton.