Patient Safety


Patient safety is a high-priority issue for all professionals - like pharmacists -  who care for the health and general well-being of people like pharmacists. Patient safety is defined as the prevention of harm to patients, including through errors of commission and omission (see glossary here

For centuries, pharmacists have been the guardians/safeguards against "poisons" those substances which could cause harm to the public. Now more than ever pharmacists are charged with the responsibility to ensure that when a patient receives a medicine, it will not cause harm.

As highlighted in a report produced in November 2009 "Pharmacy Intervention in the Medication-use Process - the role of pharmacists in improving patient safety", the involvement of pharmacists in patient safety can be as early at the prescribing phase and up to the administration of the medicines. In many cases, pharmacists are supported by programmes and activities from their national associations, as listed in this extensive work completed by Advit Shah, a final year pharmacy student from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, through an internship at FIP focusing on Patient Safety.

When focusing on medication errors, FIP usually referred to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCCMERP) definition of a medication error. This is "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems including prescribing; order communication; product labelling; packaging; and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use."

*The definition of "harm" includes both "temporary or permanent impairment of body function/structure requiring intervention and an error resulting in death"