Medical Error Prevention Focus of WHO

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

The World Health Organization(WHO) is aiming to reduce medicalmistakes with the World Alliance forPatient Safety initiative. The plan willbring together governments, civil societyorganizations, scientists, and researchersto create and share tactics forreducing medical mistakes. Aside fromthe United States, Great Britain andAustralia are among the major partners.

During its announcement, WHOcited statistics that 1 in 10 hospitalpatients are victims of preventablemedical mistakes. Sir Liam Donaldson,chief officer of the British Departmentof Health and chairman of the WHOcoalition on patient safety, said thatone fourth of all medical errors are theresult of medical mistakes. Reasons forerrors range from sloppy note taking todifferent medications that come in similarpackaging. Patients may be giventoo high or too low a dose, the incorrectmedication, or no medicationwhen one is needed.

Although electronic health recordscan reduce errors, they are expensive formany countries and health providers.WHO, instead, will focus on developinga clear and consistent set of medical terminology,symbols, and principles.