Health Sciences North and Shoppers Drug Mart Launch Project to Cut Medication Errors

SUDBURY, ON – Problems with medications is one of the most common reasons patients are readmitted to hospital after being discharged. Patients often aren’t sure what the proper dosage should be and medications prescribed by various doctors, either in the community or at the hospital, can counteract each other.

To prevent this, Health Sciences North/Horizon Santé-Nord and five Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Greater Sudbury have launched a pilot project to avoid medication-based errors and reduce hospital readmissions.

“We wanted to launch this pilot project because we know that when health care providers communicate better with each about the medications being given to patients, we can avoid some of the problems those patients are facing with their prescriptions, “says Wilf Steer, HSN’s lead pharmacist on the pilot project. “It’s about making the care better and safer for patients, and Shoppers has been a fantastic partner in this project.”

The project is focused on select patients who are discharged from HSN and who fill their prescriptions at one of the five participating Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Greater Sudbury:

  • Four Corners Plaza, 2015 Long Lake Road
  • Sudbury Shopping Centre, 1349 Lasalle Boulevard
  • Frood & Elm, 86 Elm Street
  • Plaza 69, 1935 Paris Street
  • Riverside & Queen, 359 Riverside Drive

Under the pilot project, patients who are being discharged from HSN are advised to have a consultation with their Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist to discuss all the medications they are currently taking, in addition to new medications prescribed by the care team at HSN. HSN will contact the Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist for a consultation on the patient’s medication to ensure correct dosages and avoid any potential negative interactions between the medications.

For patients who are unable to come to the Shopper’s Drug Mart location, due to weakness or mobility challenges, the pharmacist can visit the patient’s home to provide this consultation.

"At Shoppers Drug Mart, we’re committed to reducing readmission rates of patients to hospital by carefully evaluating all medications a patient is prescribed in hospital and at discharge, and comparing that to existing therapies, in order to minimize the risk of medications errors and adverse events,” said Matthew King, Pharmacist and Associate-owner, Shoppers Drug Mart Frood & Elm location. “Through a service funded by the provincial government for those who are eligible called MedsCheck, every patient can have this review done at the time of discharge, either in the pharmacy, or with the convenience of having one of our pharmacists visit them right in their own home. We’re here to help patients by identifying and resolving issues with their medications as swiftly as possible, to ensure the transition from hospital to home is as seamless as possible."

A study prepared in 2012 by Accreditation Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Information, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada stated that:

  • Over 40 per cent of adults with one chronic health condition reported not receiving appropriate management of their medications
  • 63 per cent of seniors reported using 5 or more drugs; 23 per cent reported using 10 or more
  • 20 per cent of patients discharged from acute care facilities experienced an adverse event, and of those, 66% were drug-related  
  • the total cost of preventable, drug-related hospitalizations is estimated at $2.6 billion per year

Dan Lessard
Media and Public Relations Officer, Health Sciences North
(705) 523-7118, ext. 4
(705) 507-4031 c

Lana Gogas 
Manager, Communications and Corporate Affairs, Shoppers Drug Mart 
416.493.1220, ext. 5141
416.574.4408 c

Health Sciences North is improving the health of northerners by working with our partners to advance quality care, education, research and health promotion. HSN is grateful for the ongoing support of the community through the HSN Foundation, the Northern Cancer Foundation and the HSN Volunteer Association.