Press Release

ASHP Applauds IOM Report on Medication Errors

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) supports the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) recent report, Preventing Medication Errors, the latest addition to its Quality Chasm series.

“The IOM report helps draw public attention to this important patient safety issue,” said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., ASHP executive vice president and chief executive officer. “As a society, we need to take the safe and effective use of medications more seriously.”

Manasse added that safe medication use starts with team-based care, more effective use of information technology, better patient and practitioner education, engagement of practitioners and patients at all levels, and continuity of care among all health care settings. The IOM included ASHP’s medication-safety recommendations in its report.

The IOM report highlights ways in which pharmacists’ expertise and participation on the health care team can help prevent errors. Its recommendations align closely with ASHP’s own ongoing, assertive pharmacy policy and advocacy efforts. Some key areas of alignment include:

  • Utilizing pharmacists as integral members of the patient care team as experts in medication-use safety and quality,
  • Encouraging patients to keep an up-to-date list of all their medications,
  • Consulting with patients about their medications at key points, including during clinical decision making and at hospital discharge,
  • Developing reliable drug information for health professionals and consumers,
  • Encouraging the use of standardized electronic technologies for prescribing and record keeping,
  • Reconciling medications between transition points in the health care system to optimize continuity of care,
  • Promoting a culture of safety in health care organizations,
  • Basing prescribing decisions on scientific evidence,
  • Applying unit-of-use packaging in the ambulatory setting, and
  • Recognizing the need for additional research into medication-error prevention.

For all of the recommendations, above, ASHP has established policy, initiatives, and advocacy efforts.  ASHP publishes AHFS Drug Information, is a respected compendium of unbiased, evidence-based, drug information for healthcare professionals and consumers.  ASHP has also published a personal medication list for patients on the organization's consumer health Web site, www.SafeMedication.com.  In addition, the ASHP Research and Education Foundation has sponsored numerous research projects designed to help reduce medication errors.

With a long history promoting a systems-based approach and involving key stakeholders in reducing medication errors in hospitals and health systems, ASHP will continue to push for significant improvement in hospital and health-system medication-use systems. Further, ASHP will continue to share hospital and health system best practices and lessons to improve medication-use safety across the entire continuum of care.  

More information about ASHP's medication safety resources and initiatives can be found at the links below.


For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 30,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site, www.ashp.org, or its consumer Web site, www.SafeMedication.com.