Addressing Medication Errors in Hospitals: A Practical Toolkit

This is archived content; for historical reference only.

The problem of medical errors, and in particular medication errors, has prompted a strong response by the health care industry, purchasers, and by state and federal governments. Medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, with the number of deaths exceeding those associated with motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer, or AIDS. Medication errors represent the largest single cause of errors in the hospital setting, accounting for more than 7,000 deaths annually — more than the number of deaths resulting from workplace injuries.

Some information technologies have been shown to be effective in reducing medical errors, particularly in hospital settings. In July 2001, Protocare Sciences prepared this toolkit for hospitals to use when considering how best to proceed in choosing and applying a variety of technological solutions, including computerized physician order entry, to prevent medication errors in the hospital setting.

The toolkit consists of two parts: “A Framework for Developing a Plan” and “Ten Tools.” Both are available under Document Downloads below in PDF format.

Also available below are separate files for six of the ten tools. These Microsoft Word files may be saved locally on your computer and completed interactively.