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ISMP Canada News

February 13, 2019: Newsletter -  Consumer "Good Catches" – Part 1: Know What to Expect

For years, consumers have reported medication mistakes to Many of these reports describe a "good catch" – when consumers (or their caregiver, family member, or friend) played a role in spotting a mistake with a medication. In a two-part series of newsletters, details about how these mistakes were caught are shared. Here, in part 1, knowing what to expect is highlighted as an important step in spotting medication mistakes.  Read more ...

January 30, 2019: Newsletter -  Natural Health Products—Improving Labels for Safety

Information on the label of a natural health product gives consumers important information that can help them decide whether the product is right for them. Information on the label also helps consumers to use the product properly and safely. Examples of natural health products include vitamins, herbal remedies, and traditional medicines.

As an important step toward improving safety of natural health products, Health Canada is introducing a Plain Language Labelling Initiative that will require manufacturers to:
      •  present information in a standardized format within a Product Facts table (like the Nutrition Facts table on food products);
      •  make the label easier to read by using a minimum font size; and
      •  use plain language that is easy to understand.  Read more ...

January 16, 2019: Preventable Tragedies: Two Pediatric Deaths Due to Intravenous Administration of Concentrated Electrolytes

Intravenous (IV) administration of a concentrated potassium solution (greater than or equal to 2 mmol/mL) is considered to be a pharmaceutical “never event”. Despite the past recommendations and the trend of decreased deaths related to the IV administration of concentrated potassium, there have been 2 recent fatal incidents involving children. These cases illustrate the need for sustained, nationwide vigilance to recognize the threat to patient safety when concentrated injectable electrolyte solutions are not appropriately stored, monitored, and administered.  Read more ...

January 16, 2019: New Regulations will Help Protect Canadians from Unsafe Medications and Medical Devices

The Protecting Canadians from Unsafe Drugs Act, also known as Vanessa's Law, strengthens regulations to report Serious Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs) and Medical Device Incidents (MDIs). The Law improves Health Canada's ability to:
       • collect post-market safety information on drugs and medical devices;
       • take appropriate action when a serious risk to health is identified; and
       • promote greater confidence in the oversight of therapeutic products by increasing transparency.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada) in a Joint Venture with Health Standards Organization (HSO) and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), were awarded a contract to assist Health Canada with outreach, education and feedback regarding the Law.  Read more ...

December 18, 2018: Canada's National Incident Data Repository for Community Pharmacies

ISMP Canada established a national incident data repository for community pharmacies through its community pharmacy incident reporting program. Community pharmacies in several provinces are already contributing to this national repository for continuous quality improvement, and pharmacies in other provinces are considering participation in this effort as well. The repository is helping to create a more cohesive information-sharing system that will facilitate better understanding of medication incidents and the development of more robust strategies to prevent harm.  Read more ...


December 18, 2018: ISMP Canada Strategic Plan

ISMP Canada is pleased to share our new strategic plan with you. We have set five bold strategic directions for the organization to advance our work in medication safety across Canada by 2020.

      • Enable and support incident analysis for health system improvement.
      • Educate, facilitate and support learning and sharing to improve medication safety.
      • Deliver on advancing our role and impact as the national observatory for medication safety.
      • Innovate to effectively improve practices, information systems and programming.
      • Engage to strengthen collaboration with the public and health system partners.

You're invited to review our plan for more details, including options for how we can partner in more ways to reduce harm from medications.

December 18, 2018: Electronic Prescribing in Primary Care: Effects on Medication Safety

A national e-prescribing service to connect primary care practices with community pharmacies is currently being implemented in Canada, led by Canada Health Infoway, together with Health Canada, the provinces and territories, and industry stakeholders. This bulletin focuses on select findings from an environmental scan and literature search conducted by ISMP Canada; specifically, the effects of e-prescribing on medication safety, including lessons learned from some early-adopting jurisdictions.   Read more ...

November 21, 2018: Opportunity to Pilot a Novel MSSA with a Focus on "Never Events"

ISMP Canada and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute are calling for teams from hospitals, ambulatory care centres and long-term care homes to pilot a novel Medication Safety Self-Assessment (MSSA) during the months of December 2018 and January 2019. This new assessment program highlights the five pharmaceutical "never events" included in the Never Events for Hospitals in Canada Report as well as safety strategies to prevent other critical incidents with high-alert medications.  Read more ...