Developing a Proactive Approach to Medication Error Prevention

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Medication administration and the prevention of medication errors have been identified by quality management professionals and consumers alike as an area of healthcare that needs quality improvement. A proactive multi-disciplinary approach taken by nursing and pharmacy at the author's acute care teaching hospital has resulted in a significant improvement in the medication administration process and in reduced medication errors. Improved quality data management resulted in more effective action planning. The reporting format of medication errors was changed based on trends, and severity evaluation was implemented. System problems were more easily identified due to increased information about the medication errors. As a result, staff education and training could be more specific, and thus, more meaningful. Additionally, jointly developed quality management studies provided the foundation for effective improvement strategies and efficient system changes.

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