Giant Eagle awarded for safe medication practices

Randy Heiser of Giant Eagle receives the Institute for Safe Medication Practices’ Annual Cheers Award from ISMP president Michael Cohen.

PITTSBURGH —Supermarket retailer Giant Eagle recently was recognized by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices at ISMP’s 12th Annual Cheers Awards reception, which honors individuals, organizations and companies for excellence in the prevention of medication errors and adverse drug events.

Giant Eagle pharmacy was recognized with a Cheers Award for its efforts in ensuring high-quality customer service and accuracy. The chain recently had implemented two quality initiatives, including No Defects Passed Forward, an initiative that encourages staff to identify any potential errors at each stage of the dispensing process before they reach the pharmacist for final verification. “What [NDPF] does, in a nutshell, is require the person who is ready to perform their function to check the work that was done by the person immediately before them in the process,” said Randy Heiser, Giant Eagle VP pharmacy. NDPF also helps improve customer service, Heiser noted, including improvements in initial dispensing time, as well as the time saved in reconciling errors after the fact.

The second program prevents point-of-sale errors by linking the pharmacy dispensing system to the registers. A bar code with patient date-of-birth was added to prescription receipts—when scanned, a blind prompt is created for the team member to enter that date. If an incorrect birth date is entered, the sales transaction cannot be completed.

“Medication accuracy is paramount at Giant Eagle,” Heiser said. “We’re honored to be recognized by the ISMP for our dedication to the health and well-being of our customers.”

Heiser also suggested that the retail pharmacy industry might benefit from the sharing of best practices in preventing medication errors. “We do it in some of our [grocery retailer] share groups, but there really has been no national push in getting [retail pharmacy] together and sharing those ideas,” he said.

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