1/26/2004

ASHP Medication Error Guidelines Added to National Database

Physicians, nurses, and other health care providers can now tap into pharmacists’ expertise on medication error prevention with the recent inclusion in the National Guideline Clearinghouse™ (NGC) of a practice guideline published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). 

The “ASHP Guidelines on Preventing Medication Errors with Antineoplastic Agents” include recommendations to help practitioners and health plans implement safeguards for the use of injectable cancer medications and for strengthening error prevention programs in hospitals and health systems.  The guidelines cover procedural, technical, and behavioral elements that can reduce an institution’s vulnerability to errors, including the use of standardized medication order forms and computerized prescriber order entry systems.  The recommendations also provide guidance for pharmacists, physicians, and nurses on how to best carry out their specific medication-use responsibilities.  The guidelines were written by a team of pracitioners from the National Institutes of Health led by David R. Kohler, Pharm.D.

“Use of these guidelines can significantly bolster the safety of drug therapy in our nation’s hospitals and health systems,” said ASHP President Daniel M. Ashby, M.S., FASHP.  “Their inclusion in the NGC demonstrates the growing awareness of pharmacy’s important contributions to improving medication use.”

The NGC is a comprehensive database of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines and related documents produced by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in partnership with the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Association of Health Plans-Health Insurance Association of America (AAHP-HIAA).  ASHP is the only pharmacy organization to have its guidance documents included in the database. 

The guidelines can be viewed at the NGC Web site at: www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?view_id=1&doc_id=4312

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, ambulatory care clinics, long-term care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long history of medication error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines.  Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective.  The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their professional practice, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.  For more information, visit ASHP’s Web site, www.ashp.org or www.safemedication.com.


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