Magazine article Drug Topics

Hospital Pharmacists Hold on as IOM Report Rocks Convention

Magazine article Drug Topics

Hospital Pharmacists Hold on as IOM Report Rocks Convention

Article excerpt

The big news out of the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting last month had nothing to do with the meeting. What had everyone buzzing was the Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on medical errors, released just before upwards of 15,000 people, including more than 2,000 students, converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando for the health-systems organization's largest convention of the year. By the time the meeting was over, President Clinton had held a press briefing in Washington, D.C., to announce national initiatives to prevent medical errors, including medication errors (see story, page 51).

In a press release distributed during the Orlando meeting, ASHP affirmed its strong support of the "thrust" of the findings. ASHP executive vp.-CEO Henri R. Manasse Jr. called the IOM's recommendations--which include the creation of a National Center for Patient Safety within the Agency for Health Care Policy & Research and the enactment of federal legislation to establish mandatory as well as voluntary reporting systems for med error critical step in unifying efforts to reduce and eliminate medical errors.

At a press conference, ASHP officials rallied around that statement. ASHP president Bruce E. Scott Jr., v.p.-pharmacy operations of Allina Health System in St. Paul, Minn., said the IOM report has raised med errors to a higher priority than they had been in the past. He told reporters that he hopes the report "will bring multidisciplinary teams together to focus on the medication use process." It's important that prescribers, nurses, and pharmacists know each other's role, he said.

Manasse said that although the report focused on hospitals, it will impact "all forms of pharmacy." Asked to comment on IOM's mandatory reporting recommendation, Manasse noted that the list of suggestions also includes a voluntary component. However, at the same time, he emphasized that health care so far "has not done a good job of learning from errors." But, he added, even if reporting is made mandatory for errors involving serious injury or death, as the IOM suggests, there needs to be some protections for those who report the errors.

"Before we get too hyped up about reporting systems, we have to look at what really works," Manasse said. He noted that while ASHP has not yet developed a policy on the matter "one way or another," at this point "most of us agree" that the reporting of errors that lead to death or serious injury is an important part of a health professional's "accountability to the public. …

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