FIP Activities within Patient Safety

As early as in 1999, FIP adopted its "Statement of professional standards on medication errors associated with prescribed medication" where several recommendations are made:

  • on Prescription or Medication Order Writing
  • on Naming, Labelling and Packaging of medicines
  • on Dispensing and Administration of Medicines
  • to Organisations that Provide Health Care

Moreover, FIP is working in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and its patient safety programme created in response to a World Health Assembly Resolution (2002) urging WHO and Member States to pay the closest possible attention to the problem of patient safety.

In November 2009, FIP analysed the involvement of pharmacists in patient safety through a report "Pharmacy Intervention in the Medication-use Process - the role of pharmacists in improving patient safety", developed by Advit Shah, a final year pharmacy student from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, doing an internship at FIP focusing on Patient Safety.

In 2008, FIP lead a survey on systems for reporting of medication errors and summarized the lessons learnt. This analysis is available here.

In 2004, FIP formed a working group on patient safety to investigate the role of pharmacists and the improvements to be made to improve patient safety.

The FIP Working Group on Patient Safety considers the follow as high priority areas for consideration by all healthcare professionals:

  • Integrating the experience of consumers, patients, and health care professionals into the development, evaluation, and use of medicines more efficiently.
  • Developing a culture of safety and quality of care while considering both the system and the individual level.
  • Ensuring the quality and safety of public patient information by testing and evaluating informational material, especially via the Internet.
  • Promoting the safe use of computer-based documentation of health-related individual data to increase the effectiveness of integrated care while ensuring that personal data cannot be misused.
  • Improving the cooperation between physicians, pharmacists, and patients, with special focus on the use of the medication profile to provide all those involved in the care process with relevant data about the individual's drug use.
  • Communicating with patients in order to support them in their medicine taking and their understanding and evaluation of received information.
  • Creating an ethical environment of professional care based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Providing insights into how patient safety advances can be transferred to the community under a continuity of care model.

From a more operational point of view, the working group supports research as well initiatives from the development to the use of medicines in the following areas of patient safety:

  • Safety testing of drug product names of medicines prior to approval
  • User readability testing of package information leaflets
  • Quality control and quality assurance of direct to patient information
  • Implementing standards for safe and rational prescribing of medicines
  • Integrating performance measures/indicators for patient safety into all kinds of care programs
  • Detecting, reporting, and preventing medication errors
  • Promoting electronic record keeping of relevant health-related data as a prerequisite for electronic communication between health care professionals
  • Implementing patient-specific medication profiles as the basic instrument to detect drug-related problems and to improve individual therapeutic outcomes into the care process  of pharmacists and physicians
  • Developing and introducing individual risk management plans
  • Promoting all measures to strengthen self empowerment of patients and adherence
  • Monitoring and evaluation of patient outcomes

Many if not all of these measures require some sort of investment. Therefore, it is crucial that the implementation of programmes, tools, and measures for patient safety refer to suitable interfaces with other health care professionals or partners in the supply chain. Hence, all domains of patient care must recognise patient safety as an underlying key priority in the attempt to create and maintain a general culture of safety.

Further, the initiatives and measures taken to meet the needs of patient safety should be directed toward integrating care. This approach requires that special attention be put on the interfaces between different sectors of care and the communication between those sectors without loss of information which is relevant to patient safety in general and to the safety of individual patients.

The Working Group also suggested some potential actions for pharmacists in order to improve patient safety