Last updated: 28.02.12

Mater Hospital develops e-learning course for high-risk medicines

An e-learning programme has been developed by Dublin's Mater Hospital. reports this online learning course will raise understanding of high-risk drugs and the dangers that can be posed when these are administered or prescribed.

It was produced by the medical facility's pharmacy department and was supported by Pfizer Healthcare Ireland.

The online health and safety course identifies the top ten medicines and drug groups that can result in harm, as well as how errors in prescription and medication might occur and how these can be avoided.

It highlights the importance of educating professionals in high-risk drugs across all care sectors, from the prescription of the product to its administration and dispensation.

The e-learning programme also reinforces the importance of reporting any errors relating to medication.

A total of 6,882 mistakes relating to drugs were reported in Ireland's community healthcare and hospital facilities over 2010.

Errors relating to dosage accounted for 1,250 of these, while 730 involved supplying the wrong medicines.

The State Claims Agency and Health and Safety Executive revealed three-quarters of all medication mistakes happened in acute care settings, while eight per cent of all incidents reported to the bodies in 2010 related to pharmaceuticals.

However, Mater's distance learning course could deal with this issue and head of pharmacy services at the hospital Ciaran Meegan told the news provider it will make a substantial contribution to the safety of patients.

"This new e-learning initiative enables training on a critical, potentially high-risk aspect of healthcare to be delivered efficiently and cost-effectively in a flexible and accessible format to a large number of healthcare staff, which can only ultimately benefit our patients," he was quoted as saying.

Currently, the course is being utilised in the retraining of the facility's current staff, supporting the induction process of their new colleagues and improving the knowledge of all employees involved in the supply and use of medicines.

This is not the only online training course provided by the hospital, with the Health Informatics Training System Course also accessible over the internet.