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Virginia Mason Medical Center reduces medication administration errors

Monday August 5, 2013
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In the lead article of the May 2013 issue of the The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, Joan M. Ching, RN, MN, administrative director of hospital quality and safety; Christina Long, RN, BSN, project manager of hospital quality and safety; and colleagues at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, report how the center used the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes Medication Administration Accuracy Quality Study, in combination with lean quality improvement efforts, to substantially improve the safety of medication administration.

According to the article, "Using Lean to Improve Medication Administration Safety: In Search of the 'Perfect Dose,’" in just 21 months Virginia Mason Medical Center was able to decrease its rate of medication administration errors from 10.3 errors per 100 doses at baseline to only 2.8 errors at final follow up.

The article describes the methods used to reduce the medication administration error rate and increase the rate of achieving a "perfect dose" from 37% to 68%. A "perfect dose" reflects an organization’s adherence to the six safe practices for medication administration, such as comparing medication with the medication administration record, identified by study in conjunction with the absence of any of eight identified types of possible medication administration errors, such as a wrong dose, according to a news release.

The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is published monthly by Joint Commission Resources and is a peer-reviewed journal, available by subscription, which serves as a forum for practical approaches to improving quality and safety in healthcare.

To buy the journal, visit www.JCRINC.com, click Find Products and choose Publications from the drop-down menu.

About the Alliance

The Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes helps hospitals monitor and benchmark performance indicators. By the end of 2010, the alliance had collected data that includes:

• 13 years of nursing sensitive indicators

• More than 1,700 patient units

• More than 64 million patient days

• More than 183,000 patient falls

• 534,000 patient evaluations for pressure ulcers and restraint use

For more information, visit www.CALNOC.org.