4 CQI Resources for Community Pharmacies

Four pharmacy professionals discuss continuous quality improvement

Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is an ongoing approach to problem-solving and harm prevention. CQI focuses on identifying the root causes of a problem and introducing ways to eliminate or reduce the problem through open-ended analysis and assessment of process change. In the pharmacy field, CQI focuses on preventing medication incidents and continually looking for ways to improve medication dispensing, therapy management, and counselling. Your pharmacy team can use the following four resources to build or improve your pharmacy’s CQI program.

1. Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada 

(Mix of free and paid resources)

ISMP Canada is a national, independent, and not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of medication safety in all healthcare settings. ISMP Canada offers a broad range of free and paid resources to support medication safety and quality improvement including the following:

  • ISMP Canada Safety Bulletins (free)
    ISMP Canada Safety Bulletins are monthly publications that communicate key findings from the analysis of medication incidents reported to the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS), including the Individual Practitioner Reporting (IPR) Program, Consumer Reporting Program, the CIHI National System for Incident Reporting (NSIR), and the Community Pharmacy Incident Reporting (CPhIR) Program, as well as important learning from medication safety projects.
  • Med Safety Exchange Webinar Series (free)
    The Med Safety Exchange is a bi-monthly 50-minute webinar series that provides a platform for frontline healthcare practitioners to share and learn about medication incident analyses and medication safety initiatives with colleagues from across Canada.
  • SMART Pharmacist Podcast (free)
    The SMART Pharmacist Podcast is a bi-monthly 15-minute audio clip that emphasizes portable, learner controlled education on shared learning from medication incidents, important medication safety topics in community pharmacy, and recommendations for best practices.
  • Medication Safety Learning Centre (mix of paid and free)
    ISMP Canada’s Medication Safety Learning Centre offers a range of workshops and webinars including Incident Analysis and Proactive Risk Assessment, Multi-Incident Analysis and Medication Safety Culture, Medication Reconciliation and Best Possible Medication History, and more.

2. Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI)*

(Free resources)

CPSI was created by Health Canada in 2003 to work with governments, health organizations, leaders, patients and healthcare providers to support patient safety and quality improvement. CPSI offers many excellent CQI resources including the following:

  • Canadian Incident Analysis Framework
    The Canadian Incident Analysis Framework is a resource to support the effective analysis of patient safety incidents to enhance the quality of patient care. The framework provides methods and tools to assist you in answering the following questions:
    • What happened?
    • How and why it happened?
    • What can be done to reduce the likelihood of recurrence and make care safer?
    • What was learned?
  • Guide to Patient Safety Improvement
    A Guide to Patient Safety Improvement combines knowledge translation (KT) and quality improvement (QI) principles to support effective patient safety improvements. As stated in the guide, “QI uses methods and processes to improve the quality, safety, and value of healthcare at a local level. KT uses theories, models, and frameworks to move knowledge gained from research evidence into practice for large-scale improvement.”

*CPSI and The Canadian Foundation for Healthcare are now amalgamated as a new organization, Healthcare Excellence Canada.

3. Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

(Free, account/login required)

IHI uses improvement science to advance and sustain better outcomes in health and healthcare across the world. IHI works collaboratively to spark innovative ways to improve the health of individuals and populations. IHI offers many continuous quality improvement resources including the following

  • Quality Improvement (QI) Essentials Toolkit
    IHI’s QI Essentials Toolkit includes the tools and templates you need to launch a successful quality improvement project and manage performance improvement. You can download the complete toolkit, including ten tools/templates, or select the individual tools you think will work best for your team.
  • Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit
    The Patient Safety Essentials Toolkit includes documents on improving teamwork and communication, tools to help you understand the underlying issues that can cause errors, and valuable guidance about how to create and maintain reliable systems. You can download the complete toolkit, including nine tools/templates, or select the individual tools you think will work best for your team.

4. College of Pharmacists of Manitoba (CPhM) Shared Learning

The CPhM Shared Learning page provides pharmacy teams with real-life learning from medication incidents and patient harm from a national and provincial perspective. Case Studies from the Medical Examiner offer a window into medication incidents that have caused or contributed to a patient’s death in Manitoba. For pharmacies that offer Opioid Agonist Therapy (OAT), a high-risk pharmacy practice, the Shared Learning page offers insight into safer practices for providing OAT. Finally, learning from medication incident reports to ISMP Canada is available through SMART Medication Safety Agendas. These Agendas encourage pharmacy teams to learn about medication incidents that have happened in other pharmacies and create assessments or action plans to reduce the chance of patient harms in their pharmacies.

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