Medication Errors: Scope and prevention strategies

Luigi Brunetti, Dong-Churl Suh


Background: Medication errors are a significant public health concern.  Although significant advances have been made, errors are still relatively common and represent an opportunity for healthcare improvement.

Methodology/Principal Findings: Since the publication of To Err is Human, medication errors have been under tremendous scrutiny.  Organizations have moved towards a non-punitive approach to evaluating errors.  This approach to medication errors has aided in identifying common pathways to medication errors and improving understanding regarding the anatomy of a medication error.  As a result, prevention strategies have been developed to target common themes contributing to errors.  Error prevention strategies may target common contributors of medication errors, broadly grouped as performance lapses, lack of knowledge, and lack or failure of safety systems.  Strategies to thwart medication errors range from process improvement to integration of technology in the health care environment.

Conclusions/Significance:  Organizations should devote resources to address medication error prevention strategies in an effort to improve patient outcomes and decrease morbidity and mortality associated with medication errors.

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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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