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Drug Saf. 2003;26(13):937-50.

Reducing medication errors: a regional approach for hospitals.

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Main Line Health System, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010, USA.


Since the Institute of Medicine's report, To Err Is Human, and the subsequent publication, Crossing the Quality Chasm, the subject of reducing medical errors has gained considerable attention from patients, healthcare providers, employers and government organisations in the US. Most nonoperative errors are related to medications. Medication errors lead not only to negative repercussions subjectively experienced by both the patient and the healthcare staff, but also to additional expenditures due to complications. Education, adapting new safety systems and technology, and having clinical pharmacists play a larger role in the medication process can all help in solving the problem of medication errors. Designing and executing a rational system to reduce medication errors is particularly germane in the current era of increased demands for quality healthcare in the setting of cost-containment pressures. In the Delaware Valley (Philadelphia and surrounding area) of Pennsylvania, USA, a consortium of healthcare providers in cooperation with the Health Care Improvement Foundation (HCIF), and two non-profit oganisations--the ECRI (formerly the Emergency Care Research Institute) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)--have combined to establish and promote safe medication practices under a programme known as the Regional Medication Safety Program for Hospitals. At the core of the programme are 16 medication safety goals, which centre on establishing an institutional culture of safety, modifying infrastructure and clinical practice to reflect this culture, and using technology to facilitate these changes. It is believed that this rational campaign to improve patient safety may serve as a paradigm for other regions around the world.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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