National Pharmacist Group Tackling Heparin Errors

The recent medication errors affecting 17 infants in Texas serve as a tragic warning, according to the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).  “Our hearts go out to the families and pharmacists involved in this very sad accident,” said Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D. “This regrettable incident is yet another example that these types of preventable medication errors will continue unless immediate and significant steps are taken in hospitals throughout the U.S.

ASHP has called together top experts in medication safety for a summit next week that will address this critical public health issue.  Held July 14 and 15 just outside the nation’s capital, ASHP’s IV Safety Summit aims to create a national strategy to prevent harm and death from intravenous medication errors.

The Summit will gather an elite group of healthcare practitioners, thought leaders and medication-safety experts from around the nation to achieve consensus on actions that bring about real and lasting improvements in the use of IV medications, protecting patients from harm and death due to errors.

An expert panel, consisting of frontline practitioners, safety experts, and oversight groups, will consider current evidence on the incidence and causes of intravenous errors, including clinical issues, human factors, process design, technology, and effective methods of error prevention. The panel will contribute perspectives from their practice experiences and positions of oversight in medication safety, medication use standards-setting and regulatory issues.

The Summit participants will propose actions that will achieve broad adoption of the safe practices.  Findings from the Summit will be published quickly in an effort to speed the pace of change and prevent further unnecessary deaths and injuries.

The Summit is convened by several national healthcare organizations, including ASHP, the ASHP Foundation, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the Infusion Nurses Society, the National Patient Safety Foundation, the United States Pharmacopeia, and the Joint Commission.

For more information about ASHP’s IV Safety Summit, and a full listing of panel participants, visit www.ashp.org/iv-summit.