Medication safety is an aspect of care in which it is important that patients be engaged. Engaging patients in medication use and medication safety can help to ensure that they are taking medications according to their preferences, know how to take their medications appropriately, and are able to recognize and report any adverse events.
One systematic review by Kim et al (2017) that evaluated patient and family engagement strategies to improve medication safety found that the two key engagement strategies used in the literature were education and medication reconciliation. The authors found that 55% of the studies reported statistically significant improvement on at least one medication safety outcome; however, the conclusions that could be drawn on medication safety measures were limited due to heterogeneity in the interventions used and outcomes measured in the studies.
Image source: The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Medication Safety Alert! Newsletter
In a recent interview on Quorum, a team from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health discussed how they engaged patients in an improvement project aimed at using a barcode scanner to ensure that they have the right patient and the right medication (two of the five rights of medication administration). Read their research article describing how they reached out to patients in order to understand their preferences for the method of identification used in the barcode scanning process.
There are many tools and resources available to help engage patients in medication use and medication safety. Take a look at this poster showcasing five questions for patients to ask about their medications when they see their doctor, nurse, or pharmacist, developed by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, the Canadian Pharmacists Association, and the Canadian Society for Hospital Pharmacists. Or view this webinar on patient engagement in medication safety at the point of care, developed by the World Health Organization Patients for Patient Safety Programme, Patients for Patient Safety Canada, and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.
Do you know of any initiatives that support patient engagement in medication safety? Let us know in the comments!