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Ensuring Quality and Safety in the Pharmacy
James DeVita, CVS Pharmacy’s Director of Quality Assurance and Patient Safety, describes the many systems and programs we have in place to ensure that patients receive high-quality, expert care in our pharmacies.
At CVS Health, the health and well-being of our patients is our number one priority. We are not only focused on creating a place where patients receive expert care and counsel, but also ensuring the quality and safety of our products and dispensed medications.
We have developed several programs and initiatives to help ensure that the prescription medications that we dispense are safe, high-quality and cost-effective. All of our pharmacy operations, including the pharmacies in our retail stores, and our mail order and specialty pharmacies, follow comprehensive quality assurance processes for prescription safety and accuracy and every prescription we dispense undergoes a multi-step review by a pharmacist prior to being dispensed to a patient.
In our retail pharmacies, well-defined processes have been put in place to ensure accurate dispensing, including on-screen computer messaging, bar-coded prescription labels, electronic prescribing, automated prescription filling technology, electronic pill imaging and quality assurance training for all pharmacy staff. Our mail order and specialty pharmacies utilize extensive quality control measures when dispensing medications as well, such as enhanced quality control, electronic imaging, quality procedures for compounded prescription items, drug utilization reviews and final quality assurance checks.
To further ensure patient safety, we include a description of what the medication looks like on each and every prescription label. We advise patients to check their medication to make sure it matches the label information indicating color, shape and markings. Our labels also include information about side effects and detailed instructions on how to take the medication properly. Prescription medications also include a detailed drug description information sheet that contains helpful information about side effects, drug interactions and what to do if a patient misses a dose. These labeling practices apply to all prescription medications dispensed by CVS Health.
We also engage independent industry experts, such as PSO Advisory, a patient safety organization, to evaluate our quality and safety procedures as part of our commitment to continually enhancing our systems and processes to help ensure that prescriptions are dispensed safely and accurately. PSO Advisory has supported our advancements in safety, such as quality performance metrics and electronic prescribing.
Medication Adherence: The Communicators
But our greatest resource is our team of dedicated pharmacists who provide face-to-face consultations and are truly on the front lines of health care.