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Findings from the ISMP Medication Safety Self-Assessment® for Hospitals

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Background: Hospital medication practices should be assessed, awareness of the characteristics of a safe medication system heightened, and baseline data to identify national priorities established.

Design: A cross-sectional survey of U.S. hospitals (N = 6,180) was conducted in May 2000. The survey instrument contained 194 self-assessment items organized into 20 core characteristics and 10 larger domains. Hospitals were asked to voluntarily submit their confidential assessment data to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) for aggregate analysis.

Method: A weighting structure was applied to the individual items and used to calculate core characteristic scores, domain scores, and overall self-assessment scores. These scores were then compared to identify areas most in need of improvement.

Results: The 1,435 participating hospitals scored highest in domains related to drug storage and distribution; environmental factors; infusion pumps; and medication labeling, packaging, and nomenclature issues. These hospitals scored lowest in domains related to accessible patient information, communication of medication orders, patient education, and quality processes such as double-check systems and organizational culture.

Conclusions: Enormous opportunities exist to improve medication safety, especially in domains related to culture, information management, and communication.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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