National Council Defines Errors in Medication

Article excerpt

The newly created National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting & Prevention recently convened to formalize its goals and come up with a working definition of what constitutes a medication error.

With a goal of encouraging reporting of mishaps and working to reduce the human and economic toll of medication errors, the new council hammered out a definition to bring standardization to medication error classification and analysis. At a recent meeting, council members decreed that a medication error is "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm, while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health-care products, procedures, and systems, including: pre scribing; order communications; product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature; compounding; dispensing; distribution; administration; education; monitoring; and use."

To encourage reporting of medication errors, the council will boost awareness of reporting systems available to healthcare organizations. The process will begin with a survey of member organizations to scope out systems already in place to identify, track, and report errors. There also needs to be a way to standardize classification criteria, grade the severity of errors, and provide feedback to foster prevention strategies. …