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Spreading a Medication Administration Intervention Organizationwide in Six Hospitals

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Background: Six hospitals from the San Francisco Bay Area participated in a 12-month quality improvement project conducted by the Integrated Nurse Leadership Program (INLP). A quality improvement intervention that focused on improving medication administration accuracy was spread from two pilot units to all inpatient units in the hospitals.

Methods: INLP developed a 12-month curriculum, presented in a combination of off-site training sessions and hospital-based training and consultant-led meetings, to teach clinicians the key skills needed to drive organizationwide change. Each hospital established a nurse-led project team, as well as unit teams to address six safety processes designed to improve medication administration accuracy: compare medication to the medication administration record; keep medication labeled throughout; check two patient identifications; explain drug to patient (if applicable); chart immediately after administration; and protect process from distractions and interruptions.

Results: From baseline until one year after project completion, the six hospitals improved their medication accuracy rates, on average, from 83.4% to 98.0% in the spread units. The spread units also improved safety processes overall from 83.1% to 97.2%. During the same time, the initial pilot units also continued to improve accuracy from 94.0% to 96.8% and safety processes overall from 95.3% to 97.2%.

Conclusion: With thoughtful planning, engaging those doing the work early and focusing on the “human side of change” along with technical knowledge of improvement methodologies, organizations can spread initiatives enterprisewide. This program required significant training of frontline workers in problem-solving skills, leading change, team management, data tracking, and communication.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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