AIMS: Moving Forward with the Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment


One of the key expectations of the Assurance and Improvement in Medication Safety (AIMS) Program is analyzing a medication incident or near miss in a timely manner for causal factors, and taking appropriate steps to minimize the likelihood of recurrence.


Under the supplemental Standard of Practice and Standards of Operation, pharmacy professionals will be required to complete a Pharmacy Safety Self-Assessment (PSSA) once it is made available through the AIMS reporting platform. The PSSA must be completed within the first year and then at least once every two to three years. It can be done more frequently if there is a significant change in the pharmacy.

The PSSA is an informative quality-improvement tool that acts as a baseline of the pharmacy’s efforts to enhance patient safety over time. It can be used to proactively identify areas of potential risk, enabling pharmacy teams to plan improvement activities effectively and demonstrate system improvements.

The College is now moving forward with a preliminary rollout of the PSSA involving about 40 volunteer pharmacies that will test and provide feedback on the tool. This input will be valuable in guiding any changes that may be needed prior to rolling out the PSSA to all community pharmacies later this year.

Once this initial work is complete, the PSSA will be made available to community pharmacies as one of the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) tools in the AIMS reporting platform. The Designated Manager is responsible for ensuring that the PSSA is completed, but the pharmacy team should be involved in the process and associated actions for improvement.


Onboarding and Implementation of AIMS

Already, many community pharmacies and pharmacy professionals in Ontario have embraced the AIMS Program and a safety culture that supports and promotes accountability, shared learnings and a commitment to continuous quality improvement. All pharmacies now have access to the AIMS reporting platform.

The College acknowledges the valuable contribution of pharmacy professionals who are using the platform to record incidents and near-misses, which is key to understanding how these medication safety events occur and what actions can be taken to prevent recurrence.

All pharmacy staff are encouraged to read the Response Team bulletin, an independent analysis of the preliminary data from the AIMS Program that provides important insights and recommendations aimed at reducing the risk of medication events involving pharmacies. The next bulletin will be made available in the spring.

You can learn more about AIMS and access more resources, including frequently asked questions, on the College website.