Facilitators and barriers in implementing medication safety practices across hospitals within 11 European Union countries

Keywords: Patient Safety, Safety Management, Hospitals, Pharmacy Service, Hospital, Medication Reconciliation, Patient Discharge, Patient Admission, Electronic Health Records, Delivery of Health Care, Health Plan Implementation, Surveys and Questionnaires, European Union, Europe


Background: The study was carried out as part of  the European Network for Patient Safety (EUNetPas) project in 2008-2010.

Objective: To investigate facilitators and barriers in implementation process of selected medication safety practices across hospitals within European Union countries. 

Methods: This was an implementation study of seven selected medication safety practices in 55 volunteering hospitals of 11 European Union (EU) member states. The selected practices were: two different versions of medicine bed dispensation; safety vest; discharge medication list for patients; medication reconciliation at patient discharge; medication reconciliation at patient admission and patient discharge, and sleep card. The participating hospitals submitted an evaluation report describing the implementation process of a chosen practice in their organisation. The reports were analysed with inductive content analysis to identify general and practice-specific facilitators and barriers to the practice implementation.

Results: Altogether 75 evaluation reports were submitted from 55 hospitals in 11 EU member states. Implementation of the medication safety practices was challenging and more time consuming than expected. The major reported challenge was to change the work process because of the new practice. General facilitators for successful implementation were: existence of safety culture, national guidelines and projects, expert support, sufficient resources, electronic patient records, interdisciplinary cooperation and clinical pharmacy services supporting the practice implementation.

Conclusions: The key for the successful implementation of a medication safety practice is to select the right practice for the right problem, in the right setting and with sufficient resources in an organization with a safety culture.


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How to Cite
Linden-Lahti C, Holmström A-R, Pennanen P, Airaksinen M. Facilitators and barriers in implementing medication safety practices across hospitals within 11 European Union countries. Pharm Pract (Granada) [Internet]. 2019Dec.4 [cited 2020Jan.24];17(4):1583. Available from: https://pharmacypractice.org/journal/index.php/pp/article/view/1583
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