How To Stop Medication Errors

How to Design a Medication Safety Dashboard

Medication errors continue to be the most common errors in medicine. And this is after decades of work trying to fix this problem. We’ve used bar coding, double checks, triple checks, and no interruption zones, just to name a few. And they all help. But the problem of medical errors still continues.

I taught a one day workshop on Implementing Quality Programs for the Fall Institute of the American Association of Physician Leaders, formerly the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) this past weekend.

We spent part of the day reviewing the major components in an Annual Quality & Safety Plan. We put the redesign of the medication administration process as a priority both within the Safety section and the Process Improvement section.

We did this because of the frequency of medication errors that persists in our hospitals – on average a hospitalized patient encounters one or more medication errors per day.

We also reviewed a template for a Medication Safety Dashboard. You know my favorite line by now: The only way to manage quality is to measure and report on quality. So here is a template for doing just that. It can be used throughout any organization, from the front line to the board room, to report and manage medication related errors. It’s also a great tool for physician engagement.

I’ve used some version of this Medication Safety Dashboard in many organizations. Click here to download an excel file and of course, feel free to customize as needed.

I would love to here from you. Do you have a medication safety dashboard you would like to share? If you do, just send me an email and I’ll set up a special page for sharing.

6 Steps to Physician Engagement


An excerpt from my article on Physician Engagement:

SOME OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL QUALITY leaders are those who have mastered physician engagement. But working with physicians in a positive and collaborative manner eludes many health care and physician leaders.

I’m not sure why, but whatever the reason, physician engagement is critical to your success as a quality leader. Your ability to partner with your colleagues in a collaborative, collegial, respectful and honest way spells the difference between creating great quality programs or mediocre ones. This is because physicians influence 85 percent of patient outcomes due to the decisions they make and the orders they write.

In the attached article I wrote in the March/April issue of the Physician Leadership Journal, I review some of the most important aspects of physician culture, especially how you can leverage this knowledge to dramatically improve engagement. When physician engagement is ideal, your quality and safety programs will experience even more success.

To access The 6 Steps to Physician Engagement and a pdf of the article, click on this title: GREAT PHYSICIAN ENGAGEMENT IS KEY TO GREAT QUALITY.

Question: What approaches have you used to partner with physicians?