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Patient safety

EAHP: Success of innovation relies on local suitability and culture change

Organisational culture change is the starting point for adopting technological advances that improve patient safety, it was suggested in an industry-sponsored session during the 15th anniversary congress of the European Association of Hospital Pharmacists.

Katja Taxis, professor of pharmacotherapy and clinical pharmacy at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, said there is increasing evidence that new technologies for prescribing and drug administration are “powerful tools to reduce medication errors and improve safety”.

Professor Taxis pointed out that many technologies will not be suitable to adopt across the board and highlighted the need to find solutions that work locally. “You need to use a combination of innovations to really improve patient safety, but this is complex to implement.”

She added: “If there is no awareness or no willingness to improve patient safety you won’t get anywhere.”

Janice Dunsavage, director of pharmacy, Pinnacle Health System, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, added: “It is very difficult to put a safe technology in place. You start thinking: ‘Why am I bothering? Maybe I should just hire more staff.’ But I can honestly say, … even if somebody gave me 100 additional people I couldn’t make it as safe as I can using [such] technologies.”

Nevertheless, Ms Dunsavage acknowledged the need for pharmacist interventions to “make sure the order in the system is correct, otherwise the technology will work but it won’t necessarily make patients safer”.

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist URI: 11004645

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