Taiwan showcases how technology can improve medication safety (I)

By Frances Huang

Patient safety is always a key issue in healthcare system. Medical and health care workers, medical experts have been discussing how to improve patient safety through different aspects. In response to 2022 WHO World Patient Safety Day, JCT held a series of forums to discuss strategies and practical practices for improving medication safety with global health care partners. In the webinar held on 16th September, president of JCT, Dr. Chii-Jeng Lin, delivered his open remarks with “Medication without harm” to highlight the topic of the webinar today. “Medication without harm” is the priority and core value which we health care workers should keep in mind while delivering medical service to patient.  By applying technology, optimizing medical processes to improve patient safety.

Using Technology to Improve Medication Safety

Christina Michalek, Director, Membership & PSO, introduce the background of ISMP and the reason why the “medication without harm” is important at the beginning of her speech.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) was founded in 1975, is the only nonprofit organization dedicated in preventing medical errors. ISMP also known and respected as the gold standard for medication safety. ISMP collaborated with medical experts, organization, pharmacy industry building the certification and the standard of medication safety.  The concept of “Medication without harm” can be dated back to 1999 while Dr. Leape and his colleagues found out there’re 16 potential system errors might have cause serious harm up to 12 individual patients as they were reviewing the medication process. In the same year, the research issued by National Academy of Medicine noticed that there were to 98,000 patients die for medication errors every year.  According to the research WHO, most of the death and harms caused by medication errors can be prevented, the cost related to medication errors every year had soared to 4.2 billion. The number and the cost of medical accident due to medication errors had strongly impact to the society and forced medical workers to reviewing medical system and optimizing the medical process to lower the risk of medication error and improve the patient safety. For the same reason, it drives ISMP to setting a medical mechanism from collecting information of patient themselves and their medical information as first step, Doctor should prescribe based on the medical history of the patient, then the prescription should be reviewed and verified by pharmacist according to patient’s medical history and purpose of treatment before performing a treatment or issuing a prescription.

From the experience we had so far, applying technology into medical field and process had Improved the efficiency of resource utilization, lower medical cost, improving medication safety and patient safety by preventing medical error. Though we had benefitted a lot through the applying of technology on making medical decision, at the same time, Dr. Christina reminds that medical and heath care workers should take it seriously while working with new technology for there’re new genre of medical risk comes alone. How to use the technology proper while we try to improve the patient safety is a new issue we should keep in mind.

Integrated Medication Care to Improve Medication Quality and Safety

Dr. Ming-Ju Tsai, Medical Secretary at Department of Superintendent of Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, had dedicated for years in applying information technology in integrating medical care system to improve quality of medical service and patient safety.

Smart tag, Clinical decision support system (CDSS), integrated medical consolation and smart medical bag had been applied in Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital for several years. To integrate medical information and information of patient’s medical history, hospital built their data on medical cloud. While doctors and medical workers entering the process of prescription, prescription checking and performing treatment, medical workers can view the information with smart tagging information management system to have a whole perspective of patient’s medical history and journey as a support system while making medical decision.

Before the information was integrated by medical cloud, patient’s medical records were recorded in different hospital or clinic, the information wasn’t completed while patient went to another clinic or hospital. It will cause the risk of medication error for medical workers don’t have complete information to make the right decision for the patient. Now, with the support of medical cloud and CDSS, no matter which clinic or hospital patient goes, doctor can have the access to the medical cloud reviewing the medical history of the patient.

Implement Smart Cell Indicator System for Dispensing to Improve Medication Safety

Pharmacist Shu-Ching FU from Changhua Christian Hospital had mentioned that according to the statistic of medical error happened in Q3 2021 from the data of Patient Safety System Taiwan, there’s 14.1% of the medical error due to dispensing error. To lower the risk of dispensing error, experts seriously review pharmacist’s workflow and the process of dispensing. Most of the error were happened due to the similarity of name or the outward of the medicine, or due to the pharmacist didn’t double check the prescription well.

The Smart Dispensing Counter was born to optimize the process of dispensing process and pharmacist’s workflow, reduce and avoid human error to protect patient and improve the medical safety. After applied Smart Dispensing Counter, pharmacist’s workload had been lifted, their work became more efficient, much accurate by the support of the smart system. The system not only help dispensing medicine but also help managing medicine in storage and categorize, the system will show the medicine in different color to remind pharmacist to check twice before handing out the prescription to patient.

The experience of how Changhua Christian Hospital applied the technology in pharmacy department, strongly emphasize how technology can be a useful tool to reducing the loading and complexity of pharmacist’s work and make it more efficient so pharmacist can focus on their professional field, let the system take care of the first half of the dispensing process and let the pharmacist to check the medication which dispensed by the system.

Technology can be applied in medical area in different way to help health care workers and medical workers to work smarter and more efficient, increasing the accuracy of the treatment, quality of the medication and reducing the risk of human error. How to apply and how to work with the technology is also an issue that we need to keep in mind for it might bring new type of problems that we had never met before.

The Joint Commission of Taiwan established the Health Smart Taiwan (HST), a one-stop portal designed to promote Taiwan's high-quality smart healthcare solutions, in 2019. HST combines Taiwan's cutting-edge smart healthcare solutions with the demo site in Taiwan, helping visitors to fully understand the application and development potential of digital health, while creating a new model for hospitals’ digital transformation.

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