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ISMP Awarded Commonwealth Fund Grant
Funding for Phase II of the ISMP Medication Safety Self-Assessment® for hospitals


AHA/HRET Contact:
Jennifer Armstrong Gay (202) 626-2342

ISMP Contact:
Allen Vaida (215) 947-7797

The Commonwealth Fund Contact:
Mary Mahon (212) 606-3853

August 15, 2003

Huntingdon Valley, PA - The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has received a $285,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund that will help hospitals measure their progress in medication safety and assist in the development of education tools and training materials to further enhance safe medication administration. The grant will fund Phase II of the ISMP Medication Safety Self AssessmentÒ. First used in 2000, the instrument was developed by ISMP, and distributed by the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), which continue as partners in the second phase of the project.

The first project allowed U.S. hospitals to gauge their use of nearly 200 medication safety systems and practices, identify areas of weakness and establish baseline data of medication safety efforts in hospitals for use in evaluating improvement over time. Aggregate data from Phase I was shared with 1435 participating hospitals in 2000. The findings will appear in the November/December, 2003 issue of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety. To view the article click here. A sample more representative of all national hospitals is planned for the second phase.

According to ISMP president, Michael R. Cohen, R.Ph., M.S., Sc.D., "The Self-Assessment characteristics presented in Phase I are practices known to help prevent patient harm from medication errors. Since these characteristics are evidence-based or developed by expert consensus, data comparison between Phase II and Phase I will logically reflect whether hospitals have made it safer for patients who receive medications."

The initial Self-Assessment was distributed shortly after the release of the Institute of Medicine report, To Err is Human, in November 1999. The report called attention to "alarming medical safety problems in U.S. hospitals" and called for the creation of "safety systems inside health care organizations through implementation of safe practices at the delivery level." Under Phase II, the ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® will be amended and distributed to U.S. hospitals in 2004. Data from a subset of these hospitals will be compared to data from the 2000 assessment to evaluate progress over the past three years. The project will seek to determine whether new, current challenges in health care have affected medication safety systems. The amended assessment will also allow hospitals to compare their current medication safety systems and practices to other demographically similar hospitals nationwide.

"This Phase II survey will allow us to gauge how much progress we have made since 2000, nationwide, towards achieving these goals," according to Anne-Marie J. Audet, M.D., M.Sc., assistant vice president, quality improvement, The Commonwealth Fund.

Mary Pittman, Dr.P.H., president, HRET, noted, "We expect to see changes in the 2004 data due to the increased focus on medication safety by health care providers as well as policymakers."

This project is part of an ongoing medication safety partnership among HRET, AHA and ISMP, which also includes Pathways for Medication Safety, a set of three tools that were created in response to medication system gaps identified during analysis of the 2000 assessment.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), is a nonprofit organization that works closely with practitioners, regulatory agencies, health care institutions, and professional organizations to provide education about adverse drug events and their prevention. The ISMP is the premier national resource in all matters pertaining to safe medication practices in health care organizations. For more information on ISMP visit their web site at

Health Research and Educational Trust
Founded in 1944, the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) is a private, not-for-profit organization involved in research, education and demonstration programs addressing health management and policy issues. HRET, an American Hospital Association affiliate, collaborates with health care, government, academic, business and community organizations across the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that shape the future of health care. Visit HRET's Web site at

American Hospital Association
The American Hospital Association (AHA) is a nonprofit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which includes almost 5000 hospitals, health systems, networks and other providers of care and 37,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA Web site at

The Commonwealth Fund
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent research on health and social issues. To read or download publications, visit the Fund's Web site at

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