FREELAND, MICHIGAN, September 17, 2021 – In recognition of World Patient Safety Day and the organization’s commitment to Zero Harm in the region, THRIVE is excited to announce several milestones in the ongoing work to reduce adverse drug events and support patient safety in the region.

Marking the vital importance of quality-oriented health care, World Patient Safety Day is a campaign for all stakeholders within health care systems to work together and share engagement to improve patient safety.

One of the most common concerns around patient safety is the role that medication plays in overall health and well-being. Medication safety practices are an important effort to reduce the number of adverse drug events (ADEs), which are harmful health effects caused by taking too many medications as well as medications that conflict with each other or are not correct for the patient.

ADEs are the leading cause of death due to medical errors and the fourth overall cause of death totaling 100,000 events and come at a cost of $136 billion annually, according to the Patient Safety Movement. Currently, there is no national effort to address medication overload and ADEs, and state efforts are just beginning, making THRIVE’s work critical and a learning model for keeping patients safe.

THRIVE has worked to address medication safety in a number of ways, starting in 2020, with a planning grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to develop an implementation plan for reducing medication overload in older adults. That effort has transitioned into a second grant from the Health Fund to continue efforts to advance medication safety in partnership with the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) and the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA).

“We see the risk of medication overload increase with age. It is common for seniors to have one or more conditions that require treatment with prescription medications or other supplements. Often, due to the way the medical system is built, it can be very difficult to detect the harmful impacts those medications may be creating,” said Dr. Sasha Savage, chief health officer for THRIVE. “That’s why enhancing awareness around patient safety at every level is so critical. Efforts like the work THRIVE is doing help design new and collaborative care models for patient health and quality of life.”

Through this work, THRIVE has developed several strategies and steps for promoting awareness and education about the importance of medication safety, including:

  • Education materials for patients, families, caregivers and more about the harmful effects that can come from improper medication management
  • Advocating for the role of pharmacists in the patient’s primary care team
  • Outreach and partnerships with several local senior networks and organizations
  • Use of data to support individual provider practices in their patterns of prescribing
  • A focus on organizational policy and practice to review medications and stop them when appropriate

“With the help and collaboration of several partners, we’ve been able to design a suite of resources aimed at improving one of the biggest risks to patient safety,” said Mark Kato, program consultant with the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA). “The steps we’ve taken to provide education, increase collaboration and provide patient resources with THRIVE is a breakthrough effort to address medication safety with all patients and especially seniors in our region.”

Zero Harm was formally championed in May 2020, when hospital systems and partner organizations signed the Statement of Public Commitment to Zero Harm and began a five-year effort to achieve Zero Harm healthcare in the region by 2025. The second milestone came in April 2021, when THRIVE’s Patient Safety Taskforce announced the first year of metrics.

For resources and more on medication safety, please visit the website here.