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ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 7, 2021;26(20):1-4.

Production pressure and low staff coverage can result in medication mistakes in community pharmacies. This article shares reported vaccine errors and factors contributing to mistaken administration of flu and COVID vaccines. Storage, staffing and collaboration strategies are shared to protect against vaccine mistakes.
Osborne V. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2021;34:357-362.
The opioid epidemic is an ongoing patient safety issue. This literature review examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on opioid surveillance research in the United Kingdom. Of studies conducted during the pandemic, most explored the impact of the pandemic on access to opioids or opioid substitution therapy.
Jones AM, Clark JS, Mohammad RA. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2021;78:818-824.
Burnout has been a focus of numerous studies since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic; however, this is the first to focus on burnout and secondary traumatic stress (STS) among health system pharmacists. Nearly two thirds (65.3%) of respondents had a moderate to high likelihood of experiencing burnout and 51% had a high probability of STS. Due to the association between burnout and decreased patient safety, it is critical that health systems address pharmacist burnout appropriately.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. April 22, 2021.26(8):1-5.

Process change can introduce opportunities for error into established practice. This article builds on results of an earlier survey to expand the record on the types of COVID vaccine errors such as wrong patient age, dilution problems, and vaccine card confusion.
Cattaneo D, Pasina L, Maggioni AP, et al. Drugs Aging. 2021;38:341-346.
Older adults are at increased risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infections. This study examined the potential severe drug-drug interactions (DDI) among hospitalized older adults taking two or more medications at admission and discharge. There was a significant increase in prescription of proton pump inhibitors and heparins from admission to discharge. Clinical decision support systems should be used to assess potential DDI with particular attention paid to the risk of bleeding complications linked to heparin-based DDIs.
Waldron KM, Schenkat DH, Rao KV, et al. Am J Health-Syst Pharmacy. 2021;78:552-555.
Health systems have needed to rapidly adapt processes to optimize safe care during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article describes one pharmacy department’s experience integrating emergency preparedness and disaster management principles during the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of a department-specific incident command and delineation of responsibilities among pharmacy leadership (e.g., who monitors PPE inventory, medication distribution, workflows).
Sterling RS, Berry SA, Herzke CA, et al. Am J Med Qual. 2021;36:57-59.
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated rapid adjustments in hospital operations to address patient care demands. This commentary discusses how one hospital system utilized their quality and safety staff during the pandemic, and how that experience informed the responsiveness of system-wide quality improvement operations.
Elbeddini A, Almasalkhi S, Prabaharan T, et al. J Pharm Policy Pract. 2021;14:10.
Medication reconciliation can improve patient safety, but prior research has documented challenges with implementation. Researchers conducted a gap analysis to inform the development of standardized medication reconciliation framework for use across multiple healthcare settings to reduce harm, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Five key components were identified: (1) pharmacy-led medication reconciliation team, (2) patient education and involvement, (3) complete and accurate medication history, (4) admission and discharge reconciliation, and (5) interprofessional communication.

March 2020--January 2021.

Medication safety is improved through the sharing of frontline improvement experiences and concerns. These articles share recommendations to reduce risks associated with distinct areas of the medication use process. The topics discuss areas that require specific attention during the COVID-19 pandemic such as the use of smart pumps and automated dispensing cabinets.
Kanaan AO, Sullivan KM, Seed SM, et al. Pharmacy (Basel). 2020;8:225.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ability of pharmacists to ensure medication safety. This article uses case scenarios to highlight challenges encountered due to the COVID-19 pandemic that required changes in pharmacist roles. Strategies to overcome challenges related to monitoring medications used to treat patients with COVID-19, preventing errors with laboratory reporting, and managing drug shortages are discussed.
Piatek OI, Ning JC-min, Touchette DR. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;7:1778-1785.
Drug shortages are an ongoing threat to safe patient care. This commentary discusses the impact of COVID-19 on medication supply and demand, and the resulting drug shortages. The authors provide several recommendations for reducing future drug shortages in times of crises, including increasing stockpiles and creating a critical drug list with potential substitutes.
Girion L, Levine D, Respaut R. Reuters. 2020;June 9.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the supply of protective equipment, medical devices and medications. This article discusses how economics contribute to drug shortages and highlights the specific impact on access to the opioids essential for providing safe care for hospitalized patients with COVID-19.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices and US Food and Drug Administration Division of Drug Information. June 23, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic response is creating a need for care delivery adjustments that include changes in pharmacy and medication practices. This webinar discussed process alterations that have the potential to impact safe medication administration and provide context for the changes to help ensure they are effectively implemented.
Alexander GC, Qato DM. JAMA. 2020;324:31-32.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about the pharmaceutical supply chain, from overseas manufacturing to medication distribution within the United States. This commentary presents several emergency response and preparedness measures for policymakers, pharmaceutical distributors and pharmacies to prepare for drug shortages and demand surges. Suggested measures include developing an “essential medicines” strategy, using allocation strategies that prevent stockpiling and drug shortages and expanding capacity for mail-order and home delivery.