Web site spotlight: Medication safety: A complex puzzle

Nurse Leader Insider, September 28, 2009

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The National Quality Forum (NQF) included modifications to the medication management chapter in its Safe Practices for Better Healthcare—2009 Update. By combining four existing practices into one, the NQF has called for increased leadership and accountability on the part of hospital pharmacists.

Medication management has been a part of the NQF's Safe Practices since they were released in 2003. Safe Practices 17 and 18 concern medication safety.

"I can't think of one area that is more complicated to try and hit the right balance of," said Peter B. Angood, MD, FRCS(C), FACS, FCCM, senior advisor to the NQF on patient safety and former vice president and chief patient safety officer at The Joint Commission. Angood spoke during the June 18 Webinar "Medication Safety: Complex Issues for All," hosted by the NQF and Texas Medical Institute of Technology. "The difficulty comes with the fact that these are common problems but highly complex in terms of finding solutions," Angood said, adding that many organizations struggle with crafting policies that encourage change in the medication management process.

The statistics are well known, yet still shocking: 1.5 million people are harmed each year due to medical errors. In hospitals, about one medication error per patient is made each day.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the article, "Medication safety: A complex puzzle"  featured in The Reading Room on HCPro's online resource center,
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