Dr. Andrew Morris is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and the Director of the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship. He is also a member of Health Standards Organization (HSO)’s Medication Management Technical Committee.
Formed in April 2017, this committee, which is comprised of patients, clinicians, policy-makers and researchers, works to establish best-in-class standards that address all aspects of the medication management process from prescription, selection, preparation and dispensing, to administration of the medication and the ongoing monitoring of clients.
Dr. Morris said in an interview that he wanted to join HSO’s Technical Committee because he’s always been concerned about patient safety related to medications. He adds that in terms of governance and standardization, it’s better to be active and be part of the discussion.
“It’s always better to have some involvement and say in how things are governed and standardized,” Dr. Morris says. “I thought the Technical Committee would be a good opportunity for that.”
Dr. Morris noted that prior to joining HSO’s Technical Committee, he was involved in the establishment of organizational practices for antimicrobial stewardship that were developed by HSO’s affiliate Accreditation Canada (AC). He has also been a member of pharmacy and therapeutic committees at three hospitals.
Dr. Morris says that medications along with their safe and appropriate use is a complicated area of health care that involves many players; from the patients themselves, to the prescribers and other health care staff.
“Health care in 2017 is an inter-professional and inter-disciplinary exercise,” he says, adding that HSO’s Technical Committee brings everyone together to discuss the factors that lead to safe medication management. “It only makes sense that you get the perspectives of all those members, if you want to land on something that’s going to be in everyone’s best interest,” he says.
Dr. Morris noted that he hopes the Technical Committee’s work will help the health care sector put “knowledge to practice” in safe medication management. “I’m hopeful that HSO will facilitate that, along with Accreditation Canada,” he said.
Dr. Morris says that standards are important as they help health organizations to benchmark what is good and appropriate care. “Standards are the starting point for measurement,” he says. “What you want to do is set standards first and then measure.”
He adds that effective standards are evidence-based, but are also acceptable from everyone’s perspectives. “You need to make sure that the standard meets both of those criteria,” Dr. Morris says. “You want the standard to be in everyone’s best interest. But if it can’t be accepted [and implemented] by everyone, you won’t be very effective.”
Do you have significant, lived experience as a patient? Are you a clinician or researcher? HSO is still recruiting Technical Committee members. Visit our website to learn more about the Technical Committees and to apply.