6 ways to build a pharmaceutical culture centered on patient safety

Patient safety is often viewed from a lens inside medical center and hospital walls, but the leadership of pharmacists and decisions made along the medical supply chain also play a role, Londa Ritchey, the quality director at PharmaLex wrote in a May 25 article for PharmaPhorum.

Opportunities to affect patient safety come in many forms, she explains, including deciding in the procurement process whether to switch vendors and even in supply with determining which pallet vendors to go with. 

"Any of the scenarios listed above could result in a product recall. Unfortunately, a recall generally occurs after patient safety exposure or impact has been realized," she writes. "Many companies have processes in place for quality department review of changes. … However, this requires all functions to think of the potential patient safety impact during their daily functional decisions to ensure submission of proposed changes for extensive evaluation prior to implementation." 

Here are six suggestions for pharmaceutical leaders:

  1. Set goals that are attainable and aligned with the culture and outcomes you want related to safety standards.

  2. Hire with quality culture as a priority and understand prospective employees' capacity for critical thinking. 

  3. Train new hires to spot errors and correct them.

  4. Reward employees who act with risk-based and cross-functional decision-making.

  5. Rather than rewarding the quantity of batches or activities completed in a given time, reward those that are completed right the first time with checks and controls in place that assure safety.

  6. Empower employees to speak up about any process or action they identify that is not prioritizing safety and efficacy.

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