Health Standard Organization (HSO)’s new Medication Management standards will support health organizations in their quality improvement journey, and decrease the likelihood of medication errors, says Paul Filiatrault, Co-Chair of HSO’s Medication Management Technical Committee.
“The revised standards, which are part of HSO’s affiliate Accreditation Canada (AC)’s Qmentum program, will guide organizations to plan for medication system enhancements that will reduce the risk for errors that should never happen,” Filiatrault says.
“These standards are critical to helping health organizations prioritize decisions about medication system safety” he says.
HSO is in the process of finalizing two new standards; one is a Medication Management Standard, and the other is a Medication Management for Community-Based Organizations Standard.
The Public Review process for both standards wrapped up on June 15, 2018.
Paul Filiatrault is a pharmacist with more than 35 years of clinical and administrative experience in hospital pharmacy settings. He eventually became a member of the interdisciplinary team in the Intensive Care Unit, where he helped launch an antibiotic management program. Prior to retirement, he was Regional Manager of Medication Safety at a large health authority.
His portfolio included the development of medication safety-related policies, participating in the event analysis of medication errors that caused serious harm and projects involving implementation of system safety enhancements, including conversion of the infusion device fleet to standardized models, equipped with dose error reduction software accessible via WIFI, at more than 25 acute care sites.
Filiatrault was also an AC surveyor for 10 years, having retired from surveying in January 2017.
As a surveyor, he participated in survey assignments from Alberta to Nova Scotia, assessing standards such as Medication Management, Ambulatory Care, Cancer Care, Critical Care, Long-Term Care, Rehabilitation and Primary Care, in organizations of various sizes, from small community hospitals to large, province-wide, health authorities.
In February of 2017, he accepted an invitation to become a consultant with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada).
He notes that his involvement with HSO’s Medication Management Technical Committee occurred through ISMP Canada.
Filiatrault says that the creation of Technical Committees by HSO strengthens the process to develop and update standards.
He adds that he wanted to be part of HSO’s Technical Committee because, as a surveyor for AC, he had experienced some issues with standards that were unclear and challenging to use while on survey assignments.
“If the language, for example, is not clear,” Filiatrault says, “it leads to individual interpretation, which can lead to issues between clients who are being surveyed and surveyors.”
He notes that he also wanted to join the Technical Committee because it’s an opportunity to address some of the gaps existing in the health system that are related to medication management, such as the current opioid crisis.
“It’s the ability to help develop new criteria, provide clarity for existing ones and to streamline them to minimize redundancies,” he says. “It’s a chance to completely revisit the standards and address any gaps, especially those that may help resolve health dilemmas like the polypharmacy pandemic or the opioid crisis.”
The most rewarding part of being a Technical Committee member so far, Filiatrault says, is getting to know and learn from the expertise and experiences of the other committee members.
Filiatrault adds: “To contribute to standards that improve medication system safety and save even one person’s life would be the best reward.”
Since 2017, HSO and AC have been working hard to include the patient perspective in everything we do. HSO has patient partners on staff, and patients are also active members of Technical Committees. On the AC side, there are 14 trained patient surveyors who have been available to participate on accreditation surveys since March 2018.
Filiatrault adds that the patient voice is invaluable, as patients are the foundation for the safe and ethical use of medications.
“Patients, and their families, need to be encouraged to ask questions about their medications,” he says. “Just being a silent recipient increases their vulnerability to error. Listening to the ‘voice’ of assertive patients, and their families, will require a significant change in the current cultural climate for all those working in Canadian healthcare facilities.”
Do you want to make a difference and help shape the future of health and social services in Canada and around the world?
If you have significant experience in health care or social services, consider joining one of HSO’s Technical Committees.