Patient Safety Week kicks into high gear with medication safety

October 20, 2013

Canadian Patient Safety WeekMedication incidents are one of the leading causes of patient safety harm in healthcare.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) landed on medication safety as a central theme in this year’s Patient Safety Week – or that medication reconciliation is an issue healthcare professionals at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) are particularly passionate about.

 “We have an extraordinary medication reconciliation program here that’s been functioning throughout the organization since June 2012,” says Nadia Facca, Manager of Pharmacy Services, University Hospital. Facca explains that unlike most medication reconciliation strategies, LHSC’s program touches all inpatient interfaces of care and has experienced steadily increasing compliance rates.

“Not many institutions can say that,” she says.

Facca, who also serves as the Pharmacy Lead of LHSC’s MedRec Sustainability Team, says the checks in place for patient safety are more than best practices; they’re an Accreditation Canada Required Organizational Practice.

What’s more, she says, LHSC’s medication reconciliation program will become even more effective once the program’s current paper-electronic hybrid program becomes fully electronic through HUGO (Healthcare UnderGoing Optimization).  

According to CPSI, more than half of patients in Canada experience discrepancies in their medications. One in nine adults visit the emergency department as a result of drug-related adverse events, and one in three are admitted.

Drug non-compliance is the cause of 10% of all hospital admissions, 25% of hospital admissions for the elderly and 23% of all nursing home admissions and costs the healthcare system between $7 billion and $9 billion.

CPSI advises consumers to keep a list of their medications and share it when their healthcare professionals. Clinicians are encouraged to take time to ensure accuracy in preparing and administering medications to avoid harm.

Patient Safety Week began October 28 and runs through to November 1. To find out more about drug safety, Patient Safety Week or to log on to one of CPSI’s free forums, visit