The work community pharmacies do is critical to the health of people living within the community. Community Pharmacies serve as the middleman between hospitals and the patients they come in contact with daily. Thus, it is essential that Patient safety is at the heart of the work done. Since Patient Safety is important, there is need to discuss factors that can help improve it in the pharmacy.
Foster a culture of communication and teamwork
In September of 2022, we had visited Nett Pharmacy Opebi to share with them the Patient Safety Award. During this visit, we watched closely how collaboratively the Pharmacists team there worked. It was special. Establishing a culture of open communication and teamwork among pharmacy staff can significantly enhance patient safety.
From asking for clarifications from colleagues to support during essential break from the counter and even emergency shift cover, communications and effective team work is essential. Encourage all team members to actively participate in patient care discussions and share information about medication-related concerns or observations.
Effective communication and collaboration create an environment where potential errors can be identified and prevented, ensuring patient safety remains a top priority.
Enhance medication counseling
Effective patient counseling plays a vital role in preventing medication errors and improving patient safety. Pharmacists should take the time to educate patients about their medications, including proper dosage, potential side effects, and drug interactions. Patients should be encouraged to finish their dosage.
Read also: 4 ways to improved medication adherence
While speaking with our pharmacy partners during a media round, we learnt how important their job of counselling is. “At times, some persons enter our stores just to ask questions around their general health, or if they are using a medication right, or just to generally complain”, one of the pharmacists explained.
By ensuring that patients have a clear understanding of their medications and how to take them correctly, pharmacists can help minimize risks and promote safe medication use.
Implement medication reconciliation processes
Medication reconciliation is a critical process that involves reviewing a patient’s medication history to ensure accurate and up-to-date information. It is therefore important that pharmacists actively engage in the medication reconciliation process.
Through careful review of prescribed medications, with with the patient’s existing drug regimen comparison a lot of lives could be potentially saved. This process helps identify and resolve any discrepancies or potential drug interactions, contributing to improved patient safety.
Implement advanced technology
Utilizing modern technology enhances patient safety in pharmacies. Technologies like automated dispensing systems, barcode scanning, and electronic prescribing systems can help reduce medication errors by ensuring accurate medication dispensing and tracking.
Although not all these technology are utilized in the community pharmacy environment in Nigeria, however the main idea is to ensure that whenever and wherever possible, technology can be a great tool to help reduce errors that may not have been caught by humans. Thus, providing efficient and reliable ways to identify and prevent potential errors, enhancing patient safety.
Emphasize continuous education and training
As a community pharmacist, you should regularly update your knowledge and skills through continuous education and training programs. Staying informed about the latest advancements in pharmaceutical research and practice, drug interactions, and safety protocols is crucial to providing optimal care and enhancing patient safety.
While speaking to the CEO of Hanson Pharmacy, Ekomobong Hanson, he had shared that during his days at the university studying pharmacy, learning about drug safety and quality testing were his best and he still try to learn as much as possible today as the industry is fast-paced. Continuous education enables pharmacists to make well-informed decisions, address medication-related challenges effectively, and prevent potential errors.
Within the WeFill framework, we have designed training guides in video and textual formats and regularly update it for the use of our pharmacy partners and the pharmacists’ community we are building.
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As a pharmacy professional, we believe you have a better understanding on the importance of ensuring patient safety and well-being. Your daily work directly impacts the health of individuals who rely on medications and pharmaceutical services. Therefore, it is crucial to consider the above-mentioned factors that can enhance patient safety in the pharmacy setting.