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Society Backs IOM Report on Preventing Medical Error

Katherine M. Bennett

ASHP endorses the thrust of the Institute of Medicine's (IOM's) recent recommendations on medical error prevention.

"To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System," released in late November, was based on a study by IOM's Committee on Quality of Health Care in America. ASHP provided the Institute with background information, including a summary of the efforts by health-system pharmacists over the years to reduce the incidence of medication errors. The committee calls for:


  • The creation of a National Center for Patient Safety within the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 
  • Federal legislation to establish mandatory and voluntary reporting systems, 
  • Payer and regulatory incentives to improve safety practices, and 
  • Development of a "culture of safety" within health care organizations.


ASHP Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D, said the strategies recommended within the report are a critical step in unifying efforts to reduce and eliminate medical error. "We applaud the analysis and recommendations in this report. It is clear that the numerous well-intentioned efforts currently focused on this problem are not enough, and that a comprehensive, well-coordinated national initiative is needed," he said, adding, "ASHP looks forward to helping define and establish a national commitment to resolving this issue." To read a summary of "To Err is Human," see