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SBGHC is highlighting our efforts to improve medication safety during Canadian Patient Safety Week 2013.


According to the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, medication incidents are one of the leading causes of patient safety harm in healthcare.


Two major projects are underway at SBGHC that will significantly improve medication safety for patients; Medication Reconciliation (MedRec) and the implementation of automated pharmacy dispensing cabinets. 


SBGHC nurses at all sites (Chesley, Durham, Kincardine and Walkerton) are currently being trained on MedRec, a streamlined electronic process through which healthcare providers work closely with patients, families and other care providers to develop a Best Possible Medication History (BPMH).  The BPMH is a comprehensive medication history developed using multiple sources of information.


Grace Wilson, Charge Nurse and Discharge Planner at SBGHC’s Kincardine site, plays an integral role in this process. “There can often be major discrepancies in what medications a patient presents with, what our records are, and what community pharmacy’s records are. MedRec requires certain checks and balances to ensure that an accurate medication record is compiled that will follow the patient from admission to discharge, and on to alternate points of care.”


SBGHC Kincardine Site Charge Nurse and Discharge Planner, Grace Wilson, reviews a patient's Best Possible Medication History prior to discharge. 


SBGHC’s Chief Nursing Officer, Kate Kincaid, explains that SBGHC is taking a leadership role in ensuring medication safety for every patient that walks through the door. “MedRec is a required organizational practice at SBGHC; we have made it a priority to improve medication safety for our patients.”


Canadian Patient Safety Week encourages patients to ‘Ask, Listen and Talk’. “Medication safety is everyone’s responsibility, including the patient”, says Wilson.  “We recommend always having a current list of your medications with you.”


In the spring of 2014, medication safety will be improved even further with the implementation of automated pharmacy dispensing cabinets.  The secure cabinets will be located in the Emergency Departments and on the Patient Units at each site, and connected to SBGHC’s electronic medical records. 


When medication is to be administered to a patient, the healthcare provider will access the patient’s electronic medication administration record (e-MAR) from the computer located on the cabinet. The medication to be administered will be selected, and the correct dose, in unit dose packaging, will be dispensed.  Only the drawer containing the selected medication will be opened, and all activity will be tracked.


“This is very sophisticated, leading edge technology that will greatly reduce human error,” explains SBGHC Pharmacy Manager, Taralee Elzinga.


SBGHC President and CEO, Paul Rosebush, explains that the organization is “proud to take these steps to improve patient safety through the introduction of new processes and technology.  While the patient may not see anything different in their care, they will certainly benefit from the improved safety of these measures.”




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