Perfecting Patient Profiles: 3 Tactics for Safer Pharmacy Practice

A pharmacy professional talks with a patient and support person across the pharmacy counter.


In the world of modern pharmacy practice, patient dialogue and identification at the pharmacy counter are key opportunities to prevent medication incidents. Combine these tactics with a solid process for updating patient profiles and enhance your patient engagement strategy to reduce the chances of patient harm.

The patient profile within pharmacy dispensing software holds a trove of vital information that pharmacy staff rely on to ensure they dispense medications safely and effectively. From medication allergies to current medication use and medication history, this digital dossier guides healthcare professionals in providing optimal care. However, lapses in updating critical patient information can have dire consequences, potentially leading to incorrect doses and patient harm. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of maintaining an accurate patient profile and provide key recommendations to ensure patient safety in various care settings.

Incident Example from the National Incident Data Repository for Community Pharmacy

The following real-life Manitoba incident illustrates the critical importance of maintaining an up-to-date patient profile:

A pharmacist was reviewing a patient’s profile with their caregiver and discovered that an antiplatelet medication was still being dispensed and taken by the patient, despite it being scheduled for discontinuation. This oversight could have resulted in harmful consequences for the patient.

Such incidents underscore the necessity of timely updates to the patient profile.

Point of Focus: Transitions of Care and Medication Reconciliation

Transitions of care, such as moving between acute care, long-term care, and home care settings, are vulnerable moments for patients. These transitions often depend on community pharmacies for medication-related information. Accurate patient profiles are essential for seamless medication reconciliation during these transitions. Ensuring that the patient’s medication list is current can prevent errors and streamline care delivery. Empower your patients with tools to maintain an up-to-date medication list.

3 Tactics for Leveraging Patient Profiles to Reduce the Chances of Harm

To safeguard patient health and minimize the risk of medication incidents stemming from an outdated patient profile, pharmacy professionals should consider the following recommendations:

One: Complete Regular Medication Reviews 

Conduct medication reviews with patients and/or their caregivers on a regular basis. The frequency of these reviews should be tailored to the patient’s health status. During these reviews:

  • Assess Medications: Evaluate the appropriateness, effectiveness, safety, and convenience of each medication, including understanding the reason for its use.
  • Communication with Prescribers: If any concerns arise during the assessment, don’t hesitate to contact the prescriber for clarification.
  • Updated Medication List: Provide the patient and/or caregiver with an updated list of all prescription, non-prescription, and natural health products currently in use. Encourage them to share this list with all healthcare providers involved in their care, especially during transitions of care.

Two: Reconcile with Dispensing Software

Regularly reconcile the patient’s medication list with the patient profile in the dispensing software. This ensures that active prescriptions accurately reflect the patient’s current medication use.

Three: Use a Standardized Process to Collect Patient Information 

Use a standardized patient intake form for new prescriptions, and a checklist for returning patients to capture their information and updates (such as pregnancy status, medical conditions, etc.).


In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, patient safety remains paramount. The patient profile within pharmacy dispensing software is a crucial tool that empowers pharmacy professionals to provide safe and effective care. To prevent medication incidents and potential patient harm, maintaining an accurate and up-to-date patient profile is not merely a suggestion but a critical responsibility. By adhering to the key recommendations outlined in this blog post, pharmacy professionals can continue to be champions of patient safety and provide the highest level of care to their patients.

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