F2: Medication safety

Saturday, 26th August

Medications are the most common intervention in health care. Researchers report that medications are the most common source or errors. The IHI Global Trigger Tool studies determined that medications accounted for up to 50% of the adverse events identified using the trigger tool methods. As a result, WHO has identified Medication Safety as the theme for the next Global Patient Safety Challenge. Much focus has been placed on the high-alert medications as a source of harm. Lessons learned from addressing these high alert medications and other experiences from organizations around the world have resulted in developing a different understanding of what is needed to improve medication safety. During this multidisciplinary session, participants will learn from IHI’s experience and from work proposed in the Global Safety Challenge.


  • Describe the difference between a medication error and medication-related harm

  • Identify the processes and structures necessary to provide a foundation for a safe medication system

  • Discuss different measures that can be used to determine the safety of the medication system

  • Describe how the principle of ‘just enough medications’ can serve as an opportunity to decrease harm

Frank Federico, Vice President and Senior Patient Safety Expert, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; USA