Detection Methods for Medication Errors and ADEs
Accurate counting of medication errors and ADEs using appropriate detection methods is now possible and is critical for establishing the scope of the error problem. Accurate counts also enable providers to assess the impact of error prevention efforts. The discussion in this section focuses on what health care providers can do to improve medication safety through the use of error detection and monitoring techniques; the use of external reporting programs for safety improvement, introduced in Chapter 2, is discussed in Chapter 8.
Many health care systems monitor medication errors by tracking self-reported errors. Experts generally acknowledge that such reports detect a small percentage of the true number of errors and ADEs, but they believe this approach is the only feasible option. There are, however, better methods for counting errors. The goal of the committee’s recommendation in this area is to assist health care providers in selecting improved methods for monitoring of medication errors and ADEs while maintaining the recognized benefits of current reporting mechanisms.
Numerous detection methods for medication errors and ADEs have been employed (see Box 5-6). The selection of a method for inpatient settings can be facilitated by answers to the following questions: