Medication charts are used to record the medicines prescribed and administered to a patient along with any allergies and adverse reactions from medicines. A major initiative aimed at reducing medication errors and improving patient safety has been to standardise the paper-based medication charts used in New Zealand hospitals.
Standardisation in practice is a recognised safety initiative in many industries. Health professionals who prescribe medicines often move between hospitals. The new chart will reduce medication errors that can happen when clinicians are unfamiliar with a chart, or with a hospital’s unique systems.
Another benefit of standardising the medication chart is the increased awareness among health professionals of the possibility of incidents occurring. It is also a necessary step before the introduction of an electronic prescribing and administration system to all New Zealand hospitals.
The design of the national medication chart has been the result of an eight-year development phase involving many health professionals. An electronic change register is available for all hospitals to contribute to future refinements of the chart.
While the chart has been implemented in public hospitals the Commission is committed to expanding the adoption of a chart across the entire sector, including aged care and private hospitals.
Feed back from Capital & Coast DHB has been positive:
"It's really improved legibility."
"Boxes for units are useful....we used to have real issues with mcg/mg/µg."
"Great to finally have a proper O2 section."