Hospital Medication Safety Self-Assessment Introduction

The Hospital Medication Safety Self-Assessment (MSSA), Canadian Version III (2016) is updated from the 2006 version of the program and includes new content from the Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS), the Ontario Critical Incident Learning (OCIL) program, and adapted content from the 2011 ISMP (US) Medication Safety Self-Assessment for Hospitals. This version also includes items related to prevention of medication-related "never events" identified for Canadian hospitals in 2015.

Many items from ISMP Canada's Hospital MSSAs have been adopted or adapted for inclusion in Accreditation Canada's Medication Management Standards and Required Organizational Practices, and the Hospital MSSA is referenced within the Accreditation Canada standards as a tool for regular evaluation of the medication-use system.

The printable version of this MSSA highlights alignment of individual assessment items with Accreditation Canada's 2016 Qmentum Medication Managament Standards (Version 10), including Required Organizational Practices.

The self-assessment is designed to:

  • Heighten awareness of the distinguishing characteristics of a safe hospital medication system;
  • Create a new baseline of hospital efforts to enhance the safety of medication use; and
  • Assist hospitals to evaluate their efforts over time.

The self-assessment is divided into 10 key elements that have been deemed to most significantly influence safe medication use. Each key element is defined by one or more core distinguishing characteristics of a safe medication system. Representative self-assessment items are provided to help healthcare teams to evaluate their success with each of the core distinguishing characteristics.

The Hospital Medication Safety Self-Assessment and its components are copyrighted by ISMP (US) and may not be used in whole or in part for any other purpose or by any other entity except for self-assessment of medication systems by hospitals as part of their ongoing quality improvement activities.

ISMP and ISMP Canada are not standard-setting organizations. As such, the self-assessment items in this document are not intended to represent a minimum standard of practice and should not be considered as such. In fact, some of the self-assessment criteria represent innovative practices and system enhancements that are not widely implemented in most hospitals today. However, their value in reducing errors is grounded in scientific research and expert analysis of medication errors and their causes.

MSSA findings are intended for internal use and become more useful as repeat assessments are performed to see where improvements have been achieved over time and where challenges remain.