Kasia is Meds IQ Project Manager at the Royal College of Paediatrics, in the Paediatric Care Online team.
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The Meds IQ Champions’ Network is a community of professionals with interest and passion for paediatric medication safety, working together to share knowledge and practice. We work in partnership with healthcare institutions in the UK and abroad to facilitate communication and cooperation across key professional groups involved in child healthcare delivery – paediatricians, GPs, children’s nurses and paediatric pharmacists.Find out more
Medication errors are a significant but preventable cause of harm to children and young people. Meds IQ aims to bring together tools and improvement projects that have been developed to address this problem. It is our vision that child health professionals will be able to use this resource to support their own improvement work and learn from the experiences of others. At the same time, Meds IQ is bringing together organisations across the UK and beyond to ensure that medication safety remains a priority for paediatric research and practice.
Clearly there are many high-risk, high-cost areas of medication safety that require a high-quality evidence base to be developed. At the same time there are many low cost, common sense strategies that can be shared, hopefully with a view to developing national guidance and endorsement for such approaches. We believe Meds IQ can provide a forum for this.
Meds IQ focuses on four key areas of medication safety: safe prescribing, medication reconciliation, engaging patients, parents and carers and error reporting. We recognise that this does not cover all steps in the medication process and we hope in time to widen our remit.
Prescribing safety is a key focus because it is an area fraught with difficulty in paediatrics where dosage calculations for age and weight are often complicated.
Accurate medication error reporting is a real challenge. We can be certain that current error reporting significantly underestimates the rates of medication error, not least because many errors are likely unknown to both healthcare workers and patients. Standardising error reporting and involving patients and carers in this process may help to improve our understanding of drug errors.
Medicines reconciliation is the process by which an accurate list of a patient’s medication is compiled. In comparing the medicines a patient is consuming with the medicines the patient should be consuming, significant gaps in communication between healthcare providers and patients can be identified.
Involving patients and carers is a logical step in improving medication safety, not least because a significant number of adverse events happen outside the healthcare setting, including in the home. We also know that parents and carers are powerful advocates for the child and may identify errors or inconsistencies that are otherwise missed.
We hope that visitors to this site will be inspired to take time to browse through the different tools that can be used to improve medication safety and will also read and learn from the different projects showcased here. We have links to resources for developing skills in quality improvement methodology and e-learning resources. Since this is a new project and a new website, we would welcome all feedback – please contact us using the form below.
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