| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2002
Jennifer Armstrong Gay (202)
Rachel Cohen (215) 947-7797
The Commonwealth Fund Contact:
Mary Mahon (212) 606-3853
Organizations Release New Tools
For Reducing Medication Errors
ATLANTA - Pathways for Medication Safety, a coordinated and comprehensive
set of tools designed to reduce medication errors, was released today
at the 37th American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical
Meeting. The tools were developed by the American Hospital Association,
the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) and the Institute for
Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) with the generous support of The Commonwealth
Pathways is designed to help hospitals take a process-driven, system-based
approach to address a critical issue in health care today: medication
errors and the harm that can result from them.
"Many hospitals have increased the energy and attention to preventing
medical errors but more structured and rigorous approaches are needed
to establish systems that prevent threatening medication errors. These
tools go a long way toward helping hospitals and their staff do that,"
said Mary Pittman, president, HRET.
Pathways includes three tools: Leading
a Strategic Planning Effort, Looking
Collectively At Risk and Assessing
Bedside Bar-Coding. Organized in a modular format to suit different
organizations and professionals, the three main Pathways components will
help hospital leaders and professionals:
Allen J. Vaida, executive director, ISMP explains that, "These three
tools were selected based on system weaknesses that were identified through
the ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment in which more
than 1,400 hospitals participated."
- incorporate medication safety into the organization's strategic
- identify specific error-prone processes and devise safe alternatives
using a process flow diagram, case scenarios and the ISMP's Ten Key
Elements of Medication Use System; and
- prepare to implement a bedside bar-coding system for administering
Organizations at various points on the medication safety continuum
can select tools that are most relevant to them. And different professionals
can focus on the sections that are customized for their perspectives.
The content for the tools were informed by a multidisciplinary panel
of safety experts, best practices from the field, evaluation by 24 hospitals
representing different hospital sizes across the U.S., and various literature
reviews on the topic.
"The three tools of Pathways for Medication Safety are state-of-the-art
educational materials. They represent a unique resource that will guide
users to the best medication safety tools currently available, said
Anne-Marie Audet, MD, assistant vice president, The Commonwealth Fund.
"The tools are easy to use and can be put into action today, by
teams of health care professionals, who are actively engaged in making
their work environment as safe as it can be for the public they serve."
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 4600 hospitals,
health systems, networks and other providers of care and 37,0000 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.
The Health Research and Educational Trust is a private, nonprofit affiliate
of the AHA devoted to research, education, and demonstrating programs
addressing health management and policy issues. HRET collaborates with
health care, government, business and community organizations across
the United States to conduct research and disseminate findings that
will shape the future of health care.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices is a nonprofit organization
that works closely with practitioners, regulatory agencies, health care
institutions, professional organizations and the pharmaceutical industry
to provide education about adverse drug events and their prevention.
The ISMP is a national resource for all matters pertaining to safe medication
practices in health care organizations.
The Commonwealth Fund is a private foundation supporting independent
research on health and social issues.
Pathways for Medication Safety is available free of charge at www.medpathways.info.
For more information about Pathways for Medication Safety, contact:
Health Research and Educational Trust
One North Franklin, Suite 3000
Chicago, Illinois 60606
312-422-2600 Fax: 312-422-4568