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USP releases fourth annual report on medication errors in U.S. hospitals

Rockville, Md., Nov. 18, 2003--The United States Pharmacopeia (USP) today released its fourth annual national report summarizing the most recent data collected by MEDMARXSM, the anonymous national medication error reporting database operated by USP. Among the highlights: more than one-third of hospital medication errors that reach the patient involve seniors--showing they continue to be a vulnerable population in U.S. health care facilities.

MEDMARX helps hospitals report, understand and ultimately prevent medication errors in hospitals. The MEDMARX data report, Summary of Information Submitted to MEDMARX in the Year 2002: The Quest for Quality, provides a comprehensive analysis of 192,477 medication errors as voluntarily reported by 482 hospitals and health care facilities nationwide, including community, government and teaching institutions. MEDMARX is the nation's largest database of medication errors, containing more than 530,000 released records. By the end of the third quarter of 2004, the number of records in the MEDMARX database will approach one million.

MEDMARX is a national, Internet-accessible anonymous reporting database that hospitals and health care systems use to track and trend medication errors. Hospitals and health care systems participate in MEDMARX voluntarily. USP created MEDMARX to help health care facilities understand the causes of medication errors and the factors that contribute to them in order to improve patient care and safety.

Seniors at Greater Risk of Hospital Medication Errors

"The report data revealed that more than one-third of the medication errors reaching the patient involved a patient aged 65 or older," said Diane Cousins, R.Ph., vice president of the Center for the Advancement of Patient Safety (CAPS) at USP. "As the senior population continues to increase, USP is calling for hospitals to focus on reducing medication errors among seniors. Seniors and their families need to become more involved in
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Contact: Sherrie Borden
slb@usp.org
301-816-8268
US Pharmacopeia
18-Nov-2003


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