Medication Safety Isn't All That Safe, Study Says

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An examination of results from more than a decade of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices —Medication Safety Self Assessment shows scores have increased significantly between 2000 and 2011, but there is still significant room for improvement, according to an article in the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

The data, collected from 1,310 hospitals, showed the largest improvements in communication of drug orders, patient education, quality processes and risk management.

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The lowest-scoring categories from the survey in 2011 included patient information, staff competency and education and drug information.

Among all hospitals, those with a medication safety officer were the highest-scoring among all survey categories. In addition, hospitals with higher capabilities for error detection, reporting and analysis had better staff education about medication error prevention.

The article concluded the widespread adoption of safety strategies could greatly improve medication safety, whether those strategies are implemented as a result of regulations, standards, public policy or other incentives.

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