Providence Health Care Earns Fourth consecutive 3M Award with Medication Safety Project for Seniors

Vancouver, June 14, 2007 — A team of caregivers from Providence Health Care (PHC) has once again won a 3M Health Care Quality Team Award from the Canadian College of Health Service Executives (CCHSE). This marks the fourth consecutive year that PHC has won this national honour that recognizes innovation, quality and teamwork in health care.

This year, the award for innovation in health care goes to the Residential Medication Reconciliation team, who reduced medication discrepancies and improved medication documentation in admission orders for PHC elder care residents by 75 percent.

The award was presented June 12 at the annual National Healthcare Leadership Conference in Toronto. Each year CCHSE presents one 3M Award in each of two categories, hospital environment and non-hospital environment. This is first time that PHC has won in the non-hospital environment category.

“Some of the greatest health-care challenges can be addressed with ingenuity and teamwork,” said Health Minister George Abbott. “I would like to congratulate the Residential Medication Reconciliation team at Providence for their great work in improving medication safety for care home residents and on receiving this prestigious award. Patients and residents in British Columbia—and nationally—are benefiting from the innovation being developed by B.C.’s health professionals.”

“I’m proud of the fact that this year, it is a residential care team from Providence that has won the 3M award,” said Dianne Doyle, PHC’s President and CEO. “This is a part of our sector that continually does great work but doesn't always get the deserved recognition.”

Pharmacists and nurses in residential care have long been concerned about the number of discrepancies that occur when residents are moved into care homes from acute care or the community—discrepancies that could potentially result in medication errors. Chart audits show that over half of all medication errors occur at admission, transfer or discharge.

The frail elderly have an increased risk of errors due to the relatively large number of medications they take and because sometimes they do not advocate on their own behalf. Residents and their families are rarely able to provide an accurate and complete list of medications when moving into a residential facility.

To help prevent this type of scenario, the team introduced medication reconciliation, a structured review process that has been shown to be a powerful strategy in preventing errors at these transition points. This included computer-generated orders known as Moving In Medication Orders (MIMOs), which they started using in the residence at Holy Family Hospital, which is part of Providence Health Care, in January 2006.

“Because of this initiative the risk of residents being prescribed an incorrect medication has been greatly reduced,” said team leader Pam Kelly, Pharmacy Section Head for PHC Residential Care. “And if it becomes more widely used, we could potentially bring the rate to near zero.”

The MIMO, which is remotely printed to the receiving facility, is generated for residents moving in or returning from a PHC acute care site, which account for about 40 per cent of all those moving into PHC residences. It lists all the medications that the resident was receiving on discharge.

Residential RNs compare this list with any other information they have about the resident’s medications to determine if there are any discrepancies. The complete list is then faxed to the resident’s physician. The RN calls the physician’s office 30 minutes later to review the list, makes changes as required and signs the bottom of the form as a verbal order.

The form is designed to minimize transcription errors—RNs previously copied medication orders by hand—while reducing the risk that medications are overlooked. The MIMO is then faxed to Pharmacy for processing and the original is filed in the resident’s record.

The result has been a 75 percent reduction in discrepancies contained in admission orders for residents. The discrepancy rate per resident is now one-quarter of the national average.

The MIMO system has since been implemented in most of Providence Health Care’s other residential care homes, including St. Vincent’s Langara, Mount Saint Joseph and Brock Fahrni.

Providence Health Care, Canada’s largest faith-based health care organization, owns and operates five residential care homes in the City of Vancouver, in which about 700 elders live. PHC also operates St. Paul’s Hospital and acute care services at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital and Holy Family Hospital.
Contact: Gavin Wilson
Providence Health Care Communications
Tel 604.806.8583
Cel 604.312.4839
Pgr 604.667.4397