The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) began in the mid-1970s with the goal of tracking and investigating medication errors. Through voluntary reporting they review and investigate over 1000 medication errors each year.
The most common problems notes are not the pharmacists but the process of medication prescription and use. Examples of breakdowns include, “look-alike vials of medication, the use of devises for medication delivery, similar drug names and similar brand-name extensions for over-the-counter drugs, dosing mix ups and ambiguous orders written by prescribers.” The group collects information on the errors and then documents the likely reason for the mistakes and how they might be avoided in similar scenarios.
The ISMP requests that all pharmacists voluntarily report errors to share with the healthcare community. Investigations are reported through the organization’s newsletters including the monthly edition that is geared specifically toward pharmacists. The website for reports can be found at: https://www.ismp.org/orderforms/reporterrortoismp