ISQua Specialist Certificate

Medication Safety

Medication Safety


About the course

In addition to covering basic principles, this course provides a critical insight into various aspects of medication safety, such as high-risk medications, clinical specialities, transitions of care and interventions.


Who is it for?
This course is aimed at any level of pharmacy worker, including administrators whose health system includes an outpatient pharmacy, as well as any quality specialist whose prime focus includes improving medication safety.

2019 Conference Tracks

Course Content

Introduction: Basic Principles
Topic Synopsis Presenter
Introduction to Medication Safety

This session will:
• Define medication safety.
• Articulate the terminology and main concepts in context of medication safety.
• Give examples of various medication errors (prescribing errors, dispensing errors, medicine preparation errors, administration errors, monitoring errors, etc).
• List examples of how medication safety concerns differ in various settings – hospital, office/clinic, nursing/care homes and patients’ own homes.

Dr Peter Lachman, M.D. MPH. M.B.B.Ch., FRCPCH, FCP (SA), FRCPI


Topic Synopsis Presenter
WHO's Third Global Challenge  This session will describe WHO’S Third Global Challenge: Medication without Harm and its main recommendations. Dr Neelam Dhingra-Kumar, 
MD, Coordinator, Patient Safety and Risk Management, Service Delivery and Safety, World Health Organization, Geneva.
Topic Synopsis Presenter
Culture of Medication Safety and developing shared accountability: communicating for medication safety  

This session will:
• Define Medication Safety culture.

• Identify impact of policy vs behavior on Medication Safety culture.

• Discuss the ways to support/encourage Medication Safety culture.

• Describe approaches to gaining engagement across units/disciplines to collaborate in improving medication safety (pharmacy, medicine, nursing, radiology, and laboratory).

Frank Federico, 
Vice President, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).
Topic Synopsis Presenter


Case study:
Improving medication safety at policy level 

This session will:
• Give examples of addressing medication safety issues using development of guidelines and policies at the facility/provider level.

• Describe challenges associated with guidelines and policy implementation, including unintended consequences.

• Discuss strategies to evaluate the effectiveness of these policies.

Alpana Mair, 
Head of Prescribing and Therapeutics, Scottish Government.
Topic Synopsis Presenters

Designing for safety using Human Factors and Ergonomics













This session will:
• Describe three human factors principles (eg. simplification, redundancy, forcing function).

• Give examples of how environmental design can prevent error and harm (eg. quiet room for medication prep).

• Outline risks/benefits of technology on medication safety (reduce and introduce error/harm).

• Discuss examples of human factors contributors to medication errors (eg. design of drug labels, storage of drugs, look alike/soundalike drug names and labels, dependence on memory in drug administration, multitasking, and flow of work in the pharmacy and patient care areas).

• Discuss techniques for reducing error (eg. special labelling, storage, and packaging).




Professor Sue Hignett, 
Chair in Healthcare Ergonomics & Patient Safety, Loughborough University.

Dr Thomas Jun,
Senior Lecturer in Human Factors and Complex Systems, Loughborough University.

Dr Mike Fray, Senior Lecturer in Human Factors Design, Loughborough University. 



Topic Synopsis Presenters

Detecting medication errors and analysing medication error incident reports


This session will:
• Articulate how to identify medication errors through individual case safety reports.

• Describe how incident reports, patient chart reviews, direct observations, interventions by pharmacists, and adverse drug event trigger tools are used for improving medication safety.

• Identify strengths and weaknesses of medication error reporting.

• Explain what a trigger is and identify one strength and one weakness of using "trigger tools" to measure safety.

• Learn about reporting medication errors.

• Differentiate between different types of reports based on quantitative analysis (by patient outcome, by medication process, by medication problem, by medicine, etc).

• List the limitations of applying any form of quantitative analysis to incident report data.

• Differentiate between different types of root cause analysis (qualitative methods): human factors, system barriers to prevent medication safety, etc. 

James Hoffmann, M.D., Assistant Professor, Clinical Paediatrics, Primary Children's Hospital, Utah.




Topic Synopsis Presenters

Reporting and learning systems for medication errors


This session will:
• Define the way adverse events and other risks/ errors take place between hospital/clinic and community pharmacy.

• Articulate the significance and spectrum of various documents and materials which could be produced by successful reporting/learning system.

• Learn that it is possible to create a no-blame culture for enhancing adverse event reporting.

• Demonstrate how to involve regulative authority and pharmaceutical industry for medication safety.  

Professor Shin Ushiro, M.D.,  Executive Board Member of the Japan Council for Quality Health Care (JQ) Head of Division, Adverse Event Prevention.




Topic Synopsis Presenters

Learning from serious medication error (patient's story)


This session will:
Explain the impact of medication on the patient and implications on the patient and their family.

Patricia O'Connor, Executive Director, QI Discovery  




Topic Synopsis Presenters

Understanding challenges in the safe use of medications


This session will:
• Enumerate risk factors for adverse drug events and medication errors.

• Develop a general understanding of how problems occur in the medication use process.

• Identify and describe the most common types of drug-related problems.

• Discuss relationships between drug-related problems and drug-related morbidity.

• Identify improvements with written orders.  

Terri Warholak,
Professor Assistant Dean-Designate, Academic Affairs and Assessment,
College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona 




Topic Synopsis Presenters

Prescribing errors


This session will:
• Articulate key approaches for addressing prescribing errors.

• Describe how health information technology can be used to address prescribing errors: (computerised provider order entry, clinical decision support, etc.).

• Describe the disadvantages health information technology and new error types that can occur.

• Define the impact of implementing intervention strategies to address the prescription errors.

• List the benefits and risks of electronic prescribing.

Ciara Kirke, Clinical Lead,
National Medication Safety Programme,
Quality Improvement  Division,
Health Service Executive, Ireland 



Specialist Certificates fees

New To ISQua? Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €350 Applicants from High Income (HI) & Upper Middle Income (UMI) countries
ISQua Members Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €250 Active ISQua Members
Standard LMIC rate* Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €175 Applicants from Low and Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC)
ISQua Member (LMIC rate*) Hours Duration Cost Eligibility
  40 12 months €125 Active ISQua Members from low and lower-middle-income countries

* ISQua offers 50% discount to participants who were born in and currently work in low income and lower middle income countries as ranked by the World Bank. Applicants must upload the first page of their passport and letter from their employer to verify they qualify for this discount.

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