There are many regulatory boards and foundations that strive to educate and advise about proper medication use. Bodies such as the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) provide good information, but a lot of it. When trying to aggregate and prioritize recommendations to determine which to implement, one could easily become overwhelmed. Enter the Medication Management Council (MMC).
The Council’s mission is to identify medication management best practices. Through open forums which serve as unbiased and objective discussions, the Council will look to meet its 2014-2015 goals of generating lists of top 10 best practices in the areas of:
Formed in June 2014, the MMC is a thought leadership initiative of Omnicell. The Council is composed of individuals committed to improving medication management for better patient outcomes. The Council consists of pharmacy and nursing professionals from healthcare provider organizations and academic institutions. It also includes some Omnicell members, including two who previously had careers in pharmacy.
The central goal of the MMC’s best practices lists is to improve medication management processes (which are error prone) across the industry, leading to better outcomes for healthcare stakeholders. The hope is for hospitals and health systems to be able to look at each list and quickly assess which aspects of their medication management practices they need to improve upon and which areas may be missing altogether.
Top 10 Safety Best Practices
In December 2014, the Council produced the first of its three lists, Top 10 Safety Best Practices. The practices are listed below in rank order.
- Smart pump technology integration with the electronic health record
- Identification of high-risk compounding and dispensing processes, incorporating technology to ensure a safe product
- Real-time availability of dispensing information for use in medication reconciliation during the discharge process
- Minimum requirements for labeling pharmacy-prepared doses
- Standardized barcodes on all medications
- Effective, rather than unnecessary or unhelpful, alerts in the electronic health record
- Minimization of interruptions and distractions during the medication administration process
- Nursing adherence to the six safe practices to improve the accuracy of medication administration
- Scanning of all medications against the order or label when leaving the pharmacy and when restocked at the automated dispensing cabinet, and scanning of all items during the shelf-stocking process
- Use of biometrics to access automated dispensing cabinets wherever feasible
Because there are hundreds of guidelines available on safe medication management, this list is by no means all-inclusive. Rather, the best practices list suggests the base-level criteria that should be met for patient safety. The list enables committees and advocates to take practical first steps in instituting policies that make managing patient safety easier for hospitals and healthcare systems.
We look forward to presenting subsequent lists as they are released. Are there other subjects you feel the Council should be addressing? What do you feel the challenges are in implementing such recommendations at your facility?