Posted on April 04, 2018

A study, led by researchers from Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Pharmacy Department in collaboration with Qatar University, Robert Gordon University (UK), University of Aberdeen (UK), and RCSI (Ireland) identified positive leadership as being key to improving patient safety and driving quality enhancements in healthcare.

The two-year study, which was funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, explored aspects of reporting medication errors from the perspective of healthcare professionals and those in positions of power and influence. The multi-national research team involved in the study also examined the underlying causes of medication errors. Professor Moza Al Hail, Executive Director of HMC’s Pharmacy Department, says it is important to understand why healthcare-related errors happen. She says the study’s findings validate the importance of efforts undertaken by HMC to optimize the safety of its patients.

“HMC’s Pharmacy Department is committed to making a significant difference to the health and well-being of our patients and to improving patient safety through innovative research, training, and safe medication use practices. These study findings reinforce the importance of our efforts and will lead to the continued development of even more robust and enhanced medication safety practices,” said Professor Al Hail.

HMC’s pharmacy team has been at the forefront of efforts to improve medication safety practices. This has included the implementation of automated pharmacies at several facilities across the organization, helping to increase the time pharmacists spend with patients while also reducing medication errors. This technology was first introduced in the region at Al Wakra Hospital in 2014. The use of automated dispensing cabinets in inpatient wards and surgical theaters has led to both decreased wait times in administering medications and reduced error rates through the use of barcodes to retrieve prescriptions.

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According to Professor Al Hail, other notable service enhancements include the implementation of dedicated pharmacist-led clinics, such as the anti-coagulation clinic, and medication therapy management clinics. The anti-coagulation clinic is designed to be a ’one stop shop’ where pharmacists assess patients, perform required tests, educate patients, and also dispense medications within the clinic. Medication therapy management clinics, led by clinical pharmacists, have been introduced to provide consultancy services with the aim of minimizing medication side effects and encouraging patients to adhere to their dosage regime.

Additionally, last month HMC launched a drug information center to answer patient and clinician questions about prescribed medications, or medications purchased at retail pharmacies. The information center will eventually operate 24-hours a day and will also have a hotline available for queries. The Pharmacy Department’s post-graduate year one pharmacy residency program has been accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, making it the second health system outside of the United States to receive this distinction. The program enhances general competency in managing medication-use systems and supports optimal medication therapy outcomes for patients.

Late last year Professor Al Hail and her team presented the study findings at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) clinical meetings held in Orlando, Florida and at the 4th Qatar International Pharmacy Conference, held in Doha. This weekend, HMC will hold its 2nd Medication Safety Symposium, providing a platform for healthcare professionals, researchers, and patient safety experts to discuss medication safety practices and continuous quality improvement and patient care. For more information on the symposium, visit hamad.qa.

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