A quality improvement project in Blacktown Hospital’s cardiology ward has seen an incredible improvement in medication safety in just two months.
Led by cardiology pharmacist Christine Ibrahim, the project involved getting the best possible medication history for patients presenting to the pilot ward, moving between wards and at discharge, reducing the chances of adverse drug reactions, incorrect doses or missing medications.
Christine instigated the program after a random audit showed only 10 per cent of patients had a correct medication history in place.
She pulled together a team of nurses and interns, and worked under the guidance of a senior team to implement the pilot project. Using simplified forms, patient interviews, continuous training across teams, ongoing audits and a reward program for staff, the number of correct medication histories soared to 100 per cent in just eight weeks.
“Now, all patients transferred to the pilot ward are actively involved in their medication management by getting their medication history properly reconciled within 24 hours of admission during weekdays or 48 hours over weekend and having accurate medication lists on discharge,” Christine said.
“We get the patient to fill in the medication form, then we check it against two additional sources to get the best possible information. Afterwards, we upload the correct medication history on Powerchart on electronic orders for teams to use during transfer of care and upon discharge.”
She believes making medication reconciliation a priority on admission reaps huge benefits.
“We’ve found that many problems can be easily avoided by having a person stopping to say: ‘I will reconcile this medication history’. It will reduce the number of re-admissions and reduce extended length of stay.
“Both the hospital and the patient win.”