AIMS (Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety) - ​A Medication Safety and Quality Assurance Program for Ontario Pharmacies​

AIMS Medication Safety

The AIMS (Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety) Program is a standardized medication safety program that will support continuous quality improvement and put in place a mandatory consistent standard for medication safety for all pharmacies in the province. Its goal: to reduce the risk of patient harm caused by medication incidents in, or involving, Ontario pharmacies.

The program enables practitioners to learn from medication incidents, and better understand why they happen and how they can be prevented. Utilizing both a preventative approach through proactive reviews of work processes to identify areas of risk and retrospective reviews of specific medication incidents, pharmacy professionals will be able to identify learnings that will help prevent incidents and enhance patient safety.

The AIMS Program:

  • Requires shared accountability between pharmacies, for the systems they design and how they support staff; and pharmacy professionals, for how they manage medication incidents;
  • Emphasizes learning and accountability, through a safety culture where individuals are comfortable bringing forward medication incidents without fear of punitive outcomes; and
  • Enables sharing of lessons learned from medication incidents through reporting, resulting in ongoing process improvements to minimize errors and maximize health outcomes.

What are the requirements of the AIMS Program?

Consistent with the principles of a safety culture, there are four core elements of the medication safety program (please see the Supplemental Standard of Practice related to the medication safety program for further details):

  • Report: Medication incidents and near misses will be recorded by pharmacy professionals via a third-party platform in order to populate an aggregate incident database to identify issues and trends to support patient safety improvements at the pharmacy and broader system levels;

  • Document: Pharmacy professionals will document appropriate details of medication incidents and near misses in a timely manner to support accuracy. Continuous quality improvement (CQI) plans and outcomes of staff communications and quality improvements implemented are also documented;

  • Analyze: Pharmacy professionals will analyze the incident in a timely manner for causal factors and commit to taking appropriate steps to minimize the likelihood of recurrence of the incident;

  • Share Learnings: Pharmacy professionals will ensure prompt communication of appropriate details of a medication incident or near miss, including causal factors and actions taken as a result, to all pharmacy staff.

Supplemental Standard of Practice

Supplemental Standard of Practice: Standardized Medication Safety Program

The purpose of the supplemental Standard of Practice is to provide further clarity regarding practice expectations for pharmacy professionals in Ontario, in order to meet the Standards as outlined under Section 3 (Safety and Quality) of the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities (NAPRA) Model Standards of Practice (for pharmacists and pharmacy technicians).

Recent Updates

November 1, 2018 - AIMS News Release, AIMS Fact Sheet, AIMS Backgrounder and AIMS Provincial Rollout FAQ

June 11, 2018 - Video – OCP’S Medication Safety Program

May 28, 2018 - Preparing for Ontario's Medication Safety Program (Pharmacy Connection, Spring 2018)

May 28, 2018 - Frequently Asked Questions Now Posted

February 15, 2018 - Moving Ontario's Medication Safety Program Forward

October 26, 2017 - Ontario College of Pharmacists selects Pharmapod to implement medication error reporting system for Ontario pharmacies

June 21, 2017 - Council Approves Implementation of the Continuous Quality Assurance Program for Medication Safety

March 30, 2017 - Statement from the College on Continuous Quality Assurance for Medication Safety

Read the previous Medication Safety Program FAQs for pharmacy professionals for more information on the program.