Background Clinical pharmacy in intensive care units (ICUs) showed beneficial effects on safety and economics. The establishment of a regional network including pharmacists, physicians and nurses of all ICUs seemed useful for the following reasons:
Issues regarding medicines use in ICU are similar in all hospitals.
Patients are often transferred from a tertiary care hospital to a secondary one or vice versa.
Health care givers move from a hospital to another one during their career.
In 2007, an interdisciplinary group, Sipharom, was set up in order to create a network in the French and Italian speaking parts of Switzerland.
Purpose The goals of the project were to exchange data on drug administration in ICUs, share knowledge and skills, and establish standards for the administration of drugs.
Materials and Methods Sipharom now involves 13 hospitals. Each is represented by an ICU physician, an ICU nurse and a pharmacist. The group meets twice a year. Then, each member has to implement the decisions in his/her hospital.
Results Four main areas of action have been developed:
Harmonisation of the dilution and preparation of intravenous drugs: 52 standard dilutions have been defined. This led to collaborations with manufacturers in order to obtain ready-to-use preparations at the defined dilutions.
Harmonisation of the labelling of syringes: definition of the minimal list of elements that labels have to include.
Exchange of critical data
Drafting of joint guidelines
Conclusions Establishing a network is an effective way of increasing the exchange of expertise. It can lead to the simplification and harmonisation of practises and therefore help reducing risks and medicines errors and limit problems related to the movement of patients and caregivers. Pharmacists have to be the driving force of such interdisciplinary projects focusing on drug use.
No conflict of interest.
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