The Benefits of Tracking Medication Errors in LTC

  1. Every healthcare organization, including Long Term Care, has a duty to continually improve systems to prevent harm to patients due to medication errors.
  2. Health care organizations have to monitor actual and potential medication errors that occur.
  3. The value of medication error reports and other data gathering strategies is to provide the information that allows an organization to identify weaknesses in its medication use system and to apply lessons learned to improve the system.
  4. The healthcare organization’s, prevention of medication errors is only as strong as its weakest link. Determining the weakest link in your system is challenging and takes consistent analysis, documentation,
    coordination, education as well as consistent and impartial communication.
  5. The number of error reports is not as important as the quality of the information collected in the reports, the Long Term Care organization’s analysis of the information, and its actions to improve the system to prevent harm to patients. Therefore, there is no acceptable incidence rate for medication errors. Furthermore, the use of medication error rates to compare health care organizations is of no value.

Reference accessed 3/8/19: Statement on Medication Error Rates

VISIT: National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Preventions [NCCMERP]
• Index for Categorizing Medication Errors
• Index for Categorizing Medication Errors Algorithm

Jennifer Hamilton, Pharm D, BCGP is a Consultant Pharmacist with Holladay Healthcare Pharmacy.

Leave a Comment