Information about the programme
Valo (“Light”, The National Medication Safety Programme of Community Pharmacies in Finland) is a programme launched by the Association of Finnish Pharmacies together with the Finnish Centre for Client and Patient Safety. This research-based programme aims to improve the safety and appropriateness of the outpatient medication use process for clients and patients.
The goal is that by the end of 2026, outpatient medication safety and risk management will be carried out and developed in regionally coordinated collaboration across organisational boundaries.
Valo programme intends to develop the medication safety expertise of community pharmacy professionals. It also aims at strengthening and unifying the medication safety work carried out by community pharmacies, making sure it has a solid base on positive safety culture.
Valo also supports the implementation of the Client and Patient Safety Strategy (2022-2026) by Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, where the perspectives of outpatient medication safety and the new health and social services counties are considered.
The action plan of Valo programmes’ first two-year period (2021-2022) comprises of four parallel sub-projects (figure 1). The plan also includes communication and project management.
1. Implementing the Patient Safety Incident Reporting System (HaiPro) into Community Pharmacies
The HaiPro system has been widely used in health and social care services and it was also implemented into community pharmacies during autumn 2021. The implementation was preceded by a modification of the system to better adapt to the needs of the community pharmacies’ operational environment.
The HaiPro system guides community pharmacies to observe medication safety and operational processes from a wider perspective. In addition to prescription-related errors community pharmacies can also monitor errors related to self-care, automated dose-dispensing, and increasingly popular e-pharmacy services.
During spring 2022 a pilot project will take place in the regions of Vaasa and Hämeenlinna where community pharmacies and health and social care units will report and collaborate via the HaiPro system (more information about the collaborative pilot project available in Finnish). Starting from autumn 2022, inter-organisational HaiPro reporting will gradually be enabled in other areas of Finland, too.
In outpatient care the medication use process always comprises of multiple actors. Inter-organisational HaiPro reporting enables gathering data about the safety and smoothness of the entire outpatient medication use process. Inter-organisational risk management regarding medication use can, for example, reveal unexpected risks in-between organisations that, in addition to compromising patient safety, can also weaken the efficiency of the health and social care system.
2. Developing Medication Safety Culture and – Expertise in Community Pharmacies
The medication safety culture and – expertise in community pharmacies is being developed to answer the needs of the health and social care system and to reach the goals of the national Client and Patient Safety Strategy. Central measures for achieving these objectives are appointing medication safety pharmacists to every community pharmacy in Finland and the continuous development of this position, as well as strengthening the community pharmacies’ medication safety expertise through systematic continuing education modules.
The pharmacy owners together with pharmacy management and medication safety pharmacists play key roles when implementing safety culture based on continuous learning into community pharmacies. The continuing education module is mainly carried out online in cooperation with the Pharmaceutical Learning Centre (“Farmasian Oppimiskeskus”).
3. Developing Cooperation and Coordination in Community Pharmacies and Regionally
Sufficient cooperation and coordination will ensure that learning from others takes place and that effective development measures are carried out. When it comes to risk management, it is vital that risks can be identified before they actualise in one’s own department.
The peer development process of community pharmacies utilises the network of medication safety pharmacists and the nationally accumulative HaiPro data from community pharmacies. Distributing the information from the HaiPro data to community pharmacies enables utilising information about the risks and developing proactive processes in each community pharmacy. The larger data can help identify risks in the medication use process in real time that would otherwise remain unidentifiable in the data of a single community pharmacy. The data also shows measures that community pharmacies have taken to minimise and avoid risks.
Based on scientific research a research strategy will be drawn in collaboration with the University of Helsinki for the Valo programme (more information available in Finnish). The research strategy will outline central upcoming research needs regarding outpatient medication safety. The aim is to improve outpatient medication safety for clients and patients in community pharmacies as well as cooperatively between community pharmacies and Finland’s health and social services system (“sote”).
Research cooperation with the University of Helsinki will be ongoing throughout the entire programme to make sure research data is received in a coordinated and thorough manner and continuously based on the research strategy. The most essential outcomes of the research will be utilised in recognising and prioritising the measures for the programme’s two-year periods (2023–2024 and 2025–2026). The research data will also be applied to support the development, management, and decision-making in health and social care services. The cooperative research approach also makes it possible to assess the effectiveness of the Valo programme’s actions.
Research and Development
The National Medication Safety Programme of Community Pharmacies in Finland (Valo, “Light”) is driven by scientific research. In the year 2022 a research strategy (2023-2026) will be drafted for the Valo programme in cooperation with the University of Helsinki. The research strategy will outline the most central upcoming research needs regarding client and patient medication safety in outpatient care. The aim is to improve outpatient medication safety for the clients and patients both in community pharmacies as well as cooperatively between community pharmacies and Finland’s health and social services system.
The research cooperation with the University of Helsinki will be ongoing throughout the entire programme. This approach enables generating research data in a coordinated and thorough manner continuously based on the research strategy while it also makes it possible to assess the effectiveness of the programme’s actions.
The knowledge gained from the research will be utilised in recognising, choosing, and prioritising new measures for the programme. The research results will also be applied to developing medication safety practices, and to support management and decision-making both in community pharmacies as well as other areas of health and social care services.
Publications and Reports
Reports will be added here.