News Release

ISMP Launches Foundations in Medication Safety Program

Few healthcare practitioners have had dedicated education on medication safety, and healthcare organizations with increasingly limited resources often have insufficient time and expertise to ensure staff have the basic knowledge they need to prevent errors and avoid harm. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has developed a Foundations in Medication Safety program that teaches critical safety concepts and principles and helps healthcare organizations achieve a standardized, cost-effective approach to training.

“Medication errors continue to be one of the top reported errors in healthcare, yet many practitioners have only learned medication safety basics hands-on, at the potential expense of patients,” says ISMP President Rita K. Jew, PharmD, MBA, BCPPS, FASHP. “The increasing need post global pandemic to hire temporary staff or to offer a limited onboarding period for new employees makes it difficult to ensure that all practitioners have the same baseline understanding of how to promote safe medication use, improve patient outcomes, and create the best patient and customer experience.”

Foundations in Medication Safety is a 45-minute online program composed of narrated, asynchronous segments. There are two modules—one for acute care and one for community pharmacy. Each module contains real case scenarios that are specific to that particular care setting and presents questions throughout to verify understanding. Foundations in Medication Safety is available by organizational subscription, allowing organizations to track staff participation in and completion of the program.

Topics covered include:

  • How to define a medication error, adverse drug event, and adverse drug reaction

  • Types of medication errors that take place across the medication-use system

  • How to recognize the difference between a root cause and a contributing factor

  • Determining an active failure vs. a latent failure

  • The importance of sharing concerns and reporting medication errors

  • The difference between a punitive and a just culture and how it impacts error reporting

  • Primary strategies for system and human-based error prevention


The program is appropriate for all practitioners involved in the medication-use process, making it easy to administer a single, consistent program to a wide range of professionals and departments. It can be used during onboarding, new hire orientations, and annual education on safety, helping organizations meet regulatory and state board requirements for regular quality and patient safety staff training.

“Not having a strong background in medication safety can make practitioners uncomfortable with speaking up about concerns regarding medication use,” says ISMP Director of Education Matthew Grissinger, RPh, FISMP, FASCP. “Educating staff about their role in safe medication use so that they are better able to speak up or report errors is an important part of prevention and can help organizations get out in front of any potential issues.”

Additional content is being planned for each Foundations in Medication Safety module to give users timely updates on why errors occur and expanded strategies that can be used to reduce risks and avoid preventable harm.

Healthcare organizations that would like to learn more about the Foundations in Medication Safety program should visit: Educational Services for Healthcare Organizations | Institute For Safe Medication Practices (

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