Self Assessments

Medication Safety Self Assessment® for High-Alert Medications

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The ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for High-Alert Medications is designed to:  

  • Heighten awareness of distinguishing systems and practices related to the safe use of 11 categories of high-alert medications
  • Assist your interdisciplinary team with proactively identifying opportunities for reducing patient harm when prescribing, storing, preparing, dispensing, and administering high-alert medications
  • Create a baseline of your efforts to evaluate risk and evaluate efforts over time

The ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for High-Alert Medications offers hospitals, long-term care facilities, and certain outpatient facilities, such as ambulatory surgery centers, emergency/urgent care facilities, oncology clinics, treatment centers, dental surgery centers, endoscopy centers, and diagnostic testing centers, a unique opportunity to assess the safety of systems and practices with up to 11 categories of high-alert medications:

  1. Neuromuscular Blocking Agents
  2. Concentrated Electrolytes Injection
  3. Magnesium Sulfate Injection
  4. Moderate Sedation in Adults and Children, Minimal Sedation in Children
  5. Insulin, Subcutaneous and Intravenous
  6. Lipid-Based Medications and Conventional Counterparts
  7. Methotrexate for Non-Oncologic Use
  8. Chemotherapy, Oral and Parenteral
  9. Anticoagulants
  10. Neuraxial Opioids and/or Local Anesthetics
  11. Opioids

This assessment tool, which was developed by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), was funded and supported by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under contract #HHSF223201510136C. All materials associated with this research effort represent the position of the ISMP and not necessarily that of the FDA.

ISMP is not a standard setting organization. As such, the self-assessment items in this document are not purported to represent a minimum standard of practice and should not be considered as such. In fact, some of the self-assessment items represent innovative practices and system enhancements that are not widely implemented in healthcare facilities today. However, their value in reducing errors is grounded in scientific research and/or expert analysis of errors with high-alert medications and their causes.

The ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for High-Alert Medications and its components are copyrighted by ISMP and may not be used in whole or in part for any other purpose or by any other entity except for self assessment of medication systems by hospitals and health systems as part of their ongoing quality improvement activities.

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The ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for Oncology is designed to heighten awareness of distinguishing systems and practices related to the safe use of chemotherapy, biotherapy, and treatment-related drugs.