Patient Safety in Medication Use

What is Patient Safety in Medication Use?

The Institutes of Medicine (IOM) defines patient safety as the prevention of harm to patients. This includes errors, injuries, accidents, infections, etc. In the context of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy patient safety is the prevention of harm in the context of medication safety. Medication safety includes idiosyncratic risks associated with drug use, but patient safety in medication use limits the issues to the minimization or prevention of “preventable” medication-related adverse events. The term preventable is somewhat charged and controversial. There will be those who may not agree that a specific adverse event was preventable. Thus, the phrase “potentially preventable” may be preferred. Patient safety in medication use is, therefore, the minimization or prevention of potentially preventable adverse medication events that cause harm to patients.

What is the career outlook in Patient Safety in Medication Use?

Patient safety in medication use is a growing field. All institutions that are involved in the medication use system are at risk of potentially preventable medication events that cause harm to patients. This practice is probably most developed in the institutional setting. Medication safety officers have existed for many years and this role continues to expand. There is an organization, the Medication Safety Officers Society (MSOS), that reflects the maturity of this specialty practice. These position exist an the individual institution or corporate level. Opportunities in the community pharmacy, nursing home, clinic, and in transitions of care are less well developed, but will continue to develop.

Who can benefit from this program?

Pharmacists who want to be medication safety and patient safety officers/managers or who already have this role and would like credentials to expand their opportunities. Risk and quality improvement professionals. Directors of pharmacy and nursing or other health care professionals who want to be directors of these departments. Clinical leads or managers who want to advance their career opportunities. New or recent graduates who want additional training in lieu of or in addition to a residency who want to practice in the area of medication safety or drug-use policy.

What will you learn?

Students in this program will learn about the medication use system, ethical considerations, patient safety from the patient and system perspective, how to evaluate safety measures, established methods to minimize the risks of patient harm, the role of technology in improving safety, and chose from multiple electives to special your training (e.g., risk management).

Students interested in enhancing their knowledge in this area may choose to take individual courses on a non-degree seeking basis, complete a graduate certificate in Patient Safety in Medication Use (15 cr.) or complete an MSPharm degree with a graduate certificate in Patient Safety in Medication Use (32 cr.).

How much does it cost?

Courses are $750 per credit hours plus fees. Approximate costs:

  • Master’s Degree, 32 credit hours, $24,000
  • Graduate Certificate, 15 credit hours, $11,250


Sample Plans of Study – MS and Certificate

*Changes may occur to MS and Certificate plans of study. Please check back soon for updates. 17 JAN 2019

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