March 9, 2021 caroline

Exploring Patient Safety and the Role of a Specialty Pharmacist

The specialty pharmacist has a unique role in medication safety. Due to the high-touch, high-risk nature of specialty medications, the pharmacies that handle them must incorporate robust programs to ensure proper medication usage and minimize the potential for errors or adverse events.

Culture determines the extent to which the pharmacy team will communicate safety concerns, strive to learn and modify behavior based on lessons learned, and show personal responsibility toward patient safety. A new article discusses the importance of a safety culture in specialty pharmacy. It includes guidance to help leaders promote a safety culture and to help those not in leadership roles support a safety culture.

Differentiating between human error, at-risk behavior and reckless behavior is important. Errors are often a by-product of system issues rather than employee issues. By incorporating pharmacy staff into the quality improvement process and error-reporting process, solutions can be found. Being proactive in sharing “good catches,” when an error is found prior to reaching a patient, helps to increase awareness and recognize those who are promoting medication safety.

Resources linked in the article include a complimentary Patient Safety Culture survey from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and the medication-error reporting portal hosted by the Institute for Safe Mediation Practices (ISMP).

Authors of the article are Kami Nolan, PharmD, CSP, Pharmacy Manager, at CHI Health and Jill Paslier, PharmD, CSP, International Safe Medication Management Fellow at the ISMP.

Read the full article