Community/Ambulatory Pharmacy Medication Safety Self-Assessment Introduction

The Medication Safety Self-Assessment® for Community/Ambulatory Pharmacy Canadian Version is designed to:

  • heighten awareness of the distinguishing characteristics of a safe medication system in community pharmacy practice;

  • act as a quality improvement tool; and

  • create a baseline of a pharmacy’s efforts to enhance the safety of medication use and evaluate these efforts over time.

This tool was adapted from the ISMP (US) Medication Safety Self Assessment™ for Community/Ambulatory Pharmacy (2001) by a working group of pharmacists. The weighted scores of each item were used to identify those having the most impact on patient safety for inclusion in the tool.

The self-assessment tool is divided into 10 key elements that most significantly influence safe medication use. Each key element is defined by one or more core distinguishing characteristics of a safe medication system. Representative self-assessment items are provided to help you evaluate the degree to which your practice meets each of the core distinguishing characteristics. For example, under the Key Element of Patient Information, there is one core distinguishing characteristic followed by 6 self-assessment items that represent practices that enhance medication system safety in that area. The team completing this tool rates the level of implementation in the pharmacy for each self-assessment item.

The Medication Safety Self-Assessment® (MSSA) for Community/Ambulatory Pharmacy and its components are copyrighted by ISMP and may not be used in whole or in part for any other purpose or by any other entity except for self-assessment of medication systems by pharmacies as part of their ongoing quality improvement activities.

ISMP and ISMP Canada are not standard-setting organizations. As such, the self-assessment items in this document are not purported to represent a minimum standard of practice and should not be considered as such. In fact, some of the self-assessment criteria represent innovative practices and system enhancements that are not widely implemented today. However, their value in reducing errors is grounded in scientific research and expert analysis of medication errors and their causes.

MSSA findings are intended for internal use and become more useful as repeat assessments are performed to see where improvements have been achieved over time. No pharmacy should expect to score high in all areas. As indicated above, some of these practices are not yet widely implemented.