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Enhancing medication use safety: benefits of learning from your peers
  1. V A Kazandjian1,
  2. S Ogunbo2,
  3. K G Wicker3,
  4. A J Vaida4,
  5. F Pipesh3
  1. 1
    Information Systems and Analysis, Maryland Patient Safety Center (MPSC), Elkridge, Maryland, USA
  2. 2
    Maryland Quality Indicator Project, Elkridge, Maryland, USA
  3. 3
    Center for Performance Sciences, Elkridge, Maryland, USA
  4. 4
    Institute for Safe Medication Practices, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Vahé A Kazandjian, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA; vkazandjian{at}


Background: Maryland hospitals have been improving the safety of medication use practices since 2000. A retrospective analysis of 35 hospitals was conducted for 2005–2007 to determine the changes in medication use practices, communication methods within hospitals, patient education and changes in medical record management.

Methods: Thirty-five Maryland hospitals completed the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Medication Safety Self-Assessment for Hospitals, a voluntary initiative to improve the safety of medication use. A weighting structure is applied to calculate key element scores, core characteristic scores and overall self-assessment scores that were used in ANOVA and regression analyses.

Findings: The state-wide aggregate score significantly increased from 74.2% in 2005 to 81.2% in 2007 (p<0.05). The 35 hospitals scored highest in the following key areas in 2007: drug standardisation, storage and distribution (90.2%); drug labelling, packaging and nomenclature (88.1%); and environmental factors (84.3%). Results indicated that hospitals scored lowest in the key element area related to accessibility of patient information (72.5%) and in the core characteristics pertaining to redundancies and independent double checks (64.2%) in 2007. A substantial number of hospitals had positive and significant (p<0.05) changes in certain key elements and/or core characteristics. Few hospitals showed significant (p<0.05) decreases in their scores.

Conclusion: MEDSAFE has directly assisted Maryland hospitals in improving medication use safety. The strategies and tools of MEDSAFE have been used in Maryland since 2000 and Singapore and Austria since 2006.

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  • Competing interests None.