Medication Safety Paper Published

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Learning from the Design, Development and Implementation of the Medication Safety Thermometer

Paryaneh Rostami, PhD Research Student here at Haelo has recently had her first paper Learning from the Design, Development and Implementation of the Medication Safety Thermometer published in the International Journal for Quality in Healthcare. The online version is now available and the paper edition will be published in the next quarter.

In addition, Haelo authors include Chief Executive, Professor Maxine Power, Associate Director Digital and Innovation,Abigail Harrison, Senior Improvement Advisor, Kurt Bramfit alongside Steve D. Williams, Yogini Jani, Darren M. Ashcroft and Mary P. Tully.

Approximately 10% of patients are harmed by healthcare, and of this harm 15% is thought to be medication related. Despite this, the Medication Safety Thermometer is the only measurement that aids medication safety measurement with a national focus.

The measurement of medication errors is complex, requiring many steps. This article explores how the tool was designed, developed and implemented facilitated by a large multi-disciplinary team, using improvement science methods and feedback from users.  There have been over 230 000 patients surveyed in over 100 NHS organisations using 16 different versions and many sub-versions – highlighting the complexities faced.

Paryaneh said “It is exciting to share the story of the Medication Safety Thermometer with an international audience and hopefully the article will help healthcare organisations realise that medication safety is a big problem that must be measured in order to improve, and to help them implement similar innovations to aid improve medication safety!

“Thank you to everyone who contributed!”

About the Safety Thermometer

The NHS Safety Thermometer, developed in 2010 as part of a national safety improvement programme in England, is a tool that has enabled organizations to collect data on common harms on 1 day each month and to track improvement over time. The original NHS Safety Thermometer measures harm from pressure ulcers, falls, venous thromboembolism and urine infections in catheterized patients. It also provides a composite measure of ‘harm free’ care, defined as the absence of the measured harms.

Following the national rollout of the Safety Thermometer specialist groups and frontline teams identified that this methodology could be used for additional patient safety issues. Four ‘next generation’ Safety Thermometers were developed for maternity, mental health, children and young people and, the subject of this paper, the Medication Safety Thermometer (MedsST).

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