A female pharmacist and a female patient smile while standing at the pharmacy counter

For Patients and the Public

Patient harm from medication incidents are rare in community pharmacies but there is always room for improvement. That’s why the College of Pharmacists of Manitoba created Safety Improvement in Quality (Safety IQ).

Safety IQ is a program that helps community pharmacies to identify, resolve, and learn from medication incidents. With Safety IQ, pharmacy professionals have the tools to be proactive when it comes to preventing medication incidents and improving quality of care. Put another way, Safety IQ supports pharmacy teams to ask “how are we doing?” and “how can we do better?”

Learning how we can do better, means open discussion and sharing lessons about medication incidents. Safety IQ ensures that pharmacy teams talk about and learn from medication incidents using a standard system that supports shared learning to improve medication preparation and dispensing, therapy management, and patient counselling in community pharmacies. Safety IQ is about making a safe system even safer.

A medication incident is a preventable event that could cause patient harm or lead to inappropriate medication use. 

  • Do not take any of the medication. If you have already taken some, do not take any more
  • Contact your community pharmacist and explain why you suspect something is wrong
  • Tell the pharmacist about any ill effects you may be experiencing
  • Follow any instructions by the pharmacist to resolve the ill effects and/or seek immediate medical attention if needed
  • Ask questions about the steps the pharmacy staff will take to prevent the incident from happening again

Once pharmacy staff know about a medication incident, a pharmacist will make sure:

  • You are safe and have any medical attention you need
  • You receive the right medication in a timely fashion
  • You have an opportunity to discuss your concerns
  • Pharmacy staff and managers know about the incident
  • Your prescriber (doctor or nurse practitioner) knows about the incident

While your pharmacy has always been required to care for you in the above ways, Safety IQ improves on this existing process with standardized reporting, investigation, and documentation or all medication incidents.

Community pharmacies in Manitoba keep track of and learn from medication incidents. After a medication incident, your pharmacy will:

  • Record the incident with a software program to keep track of medication incident data
  • Discuss the incident to ensure everyone is aware of the incident and team members can contribute to improvement plans
  • Develop, document, and track an improvement plan to prevent recurrence
  • Keep you informed about the actions they’ve taken to improve

Information is also sent to a national database where medication safety experts study collective reports to look for trends and provide advice and resources to healthcare providers across Canada. The information sent to national database is completely anonymous and neither patients nor practitioners are identified.

  1. Keep an up-to-date list of your medical conditions, prescription and nonprescription medications in your wallet, purse, or bag.
  2. Before you leave the pharmacy, check the appearance of your medication and the label on the bottle or box.
  3. If something doesn’t look right – ask!
  4. When starting a new medication, be sure that the pharmacist has given you education and information to take home to read.
  5. Report unusual side effects to the pharmacy.
  6. Never be embarrassed to ask questions to understand your therapy.

Please see the resources below for more information on medication safety: