The PSSA is an informative quality improvement tool that helps a pharmacy track their efforts to enhance patient safety over time. It can be used proactively to identify areas of potential risk, enabling pharmacy teams to plan improvement activities effectively and demonstrate system improvements.
Under the AIMS Program, as required under the supplemental Standard of Practice, each pharmacy must complete the Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment (PSSA) during the first year it is available and then at least once every two or three years thereafter.
Community pharmacies were required to complete the PSSA for the first time by December 31, 2021. The extended timeline, which was six months longer than the requirement in the supplemental Standard of Practice requiring completion of the PSSA in the first year of the program, recognized that pharmacy professionals were dealing with many issues as a result of the ongoing COVID- 19 pandemic.
How to Complete the PSSA
The PSSA is accessed by the designated manager from the AIMS Pharmapod platform. At the start of the PSSA, there are a few demographic questions that allow the College to benchmark based on pharmacy type, size, prescription volume and services provided. The assessment consists of six domains with a focus on continuous quality improvement and implementation of concrete and tangible medication safety strategies. Under each domain are a series of statements that pharmacy teams can reflect on and determine the level of alignment of the pharmacy with the statement (i.e. never, rarely, sometimes, often, always). A not applicable option is available for statements that may not apply to all practice settings. Where there are opportunities for improvement, actions should be created to address these opportunities.
The six domains of the PSSA are:
- Comprehensive patient information
- Medication storage, preparation and equipment
- Training and education
- Medication safety event management
- Pharmacy processes and continuing quality improvement (CQI)
Once the assessment is complete, the actions, with defined due dates, are summarized within the “SMART Action Plans” in the AIMS platform for easy internal tracking. The PSSA takes a systems approach to patient safety rather than focusing on individual performance.
While the Designated Manager is responsible for ensuring that the PSSA for the pharmacy is completed, the whole pharmacy team should be involved with both the process and the implementation of ensuing improvements and actions.
- Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment (PSSA) Module
- PSSA Overview and Guidance for Completion (User Guide)
- Pharmacy Connection article – A Proactive Approach to Medication Safety: The Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment (Winter/Spring 2021)
- Pharmacy Connection article – AIMS: Identifying Areas of Risk with the PSSA (Spring/Summer 2020)
- Pharmacy Connection article – Tips for Incorporating AIMS in Busy Pharmacy