Over the years, numerous medication errors have been reported resulting in serious patient harm, including death. This is the challenge that every member of the health care team, more specifically the pharmacist faces. To better understand the causes of these errors, UMED together with the Philippine Pharmacists Association (PPhA) organized an event entitled, “Optimum Health Outcomes Through Medication Safety 1” at the UNILAB Bayanihan Center JY Hall B, Mandaluyong City.
UMED Events Manager Rosemarie Reyes led the National anthem and invocation followed by the Pharmacists singing the Pharmacists hymn. Philippine Pharmacists Association President Leonila M. Ocampo, R.PH, M.S. welcomed the participants and gave the over-all view of what to expect on the said event. She also described medication error as “any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm, while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer.” She also emphasized pharmacists as the “medication managers” for the patients because by virtue of their training and expertise, they are in the best position to oversee drug safety and ensure that the most appropriate manner for drug use is undertaken.
Marilyn Young-Tiu, Program Manager of the Asia-Pacific Institute of Medication Management, started the presentation on Procurement, Receiving of Deliverables and Warehousing. She shares that random external quality check on selected drug products and raw materials for compounding should be done on a regular basis. When receiving deliveries, the pharmacists should properly check on the physical characteristics, expiration dates and manner of transport of goods delivered.
“Compounding and Dispensing” was discussed by Dr. Yolanda R. Robles. This professor of the College of Pharmacy at the University of the Philippines defined compounding as “the preparation, mixing, assembling, packaging, or labeling of a drug or device”. She shared also the 3-P aspects of compounding that could affect medication safety – Place where you compound, People who should compound, and Process. Dispensing refers to the pharmacist’s function of taking an order, compounding and preparing the drug or medicine and the provision of medication advice to the patient or representative of the patient upon delivery of the medications. Dispensing guidelines discussed included proper management of the workplace, defining the workload for every pharmacy personnel and adherence to standard dispensing procedures.
Normita Leyesa, Vice President of the Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA) lectured on the “Administration and Monitoring of Drug Usage”. She emphasized that pharmacists spend a substantial portion of their time managing the total impact of the medication regimen on the patients under care. These can be achieved by communicating, listening and talking to patients, families, and other members of the health care team. Pharmacist’s responsibility should not end in the dispensing of medication but rather should extend throughout the course of the patient’s treatment.
After the presentations, pharmacists were grouped into four and each was given a case study to solve. A sumptuous meal followed the group discussion.
The session resumed in the afternoon with each team presenting their specific case study.
Overall, this program served as a wakeup call for pharmacists to actively take part to play a role in reducing, if not eliminating medication errors. The assurance of medication safety requires a systematic process and teamwork among the members of the healthcare team.
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