ASHP Launches Standardize 4 Safety Initiative to Improve Medication Safety

ASHP today announced the official launch of Standardize 4 Safety, a three-year, multiphase interprofessional initiative focused on creating and promoting national standard concentrations for intravenous and oral liquid medications.

PRESS RELEASE

ASHP today announced the official launch of Standardize 4 Safety, a three-year, multiphase interprofessional initiative focused on creating and promoting national standard concentrations for intravenous (IV) and oral liquid medications. The launch marks the official release of the Standardize 4 Safety initiative information, including the first draft of the IV adult continuous proposed concentrations.

Standardize 4 Safety seeks to reduce IV and oral liquid medication errors as well as improve continuity of medications therapy for patients through transitions of care. The project is funded through FDA’s Safe Use Initiative, an effort to reduce preventable harm from medications by creating and facilitating public and private collaborations with the healthcare community.

Medication errors are estimated to harm at least 1.5 million patients per year in the U.S., according to the National Academies of Sciences Health and Medicine Division (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine). These errors, many of which involve IV and oral liquid medications, are especially prevalent during transitions of care.

“Pharmacists play an important role in optimizing medication therapy outcomes and preventing harm to patients from medication errors. Standardize 4 Safety combines the expertise of pharmacists with that of other healthcare professionals to significantly reduce medication errors and harm,” said ASHP CEO Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP. “This partnership between the FDA and ASHP is a critical step in the right direction to ensure safe medication use for all patients all of the time.”

The Standardize 4 Safety initiative consists of three phases. Phase I addresses concentrations and dosing units for adult continuous infusions and compounded oral liquids; Phase II addresses concentrations and dosing units for pediatric continuous infusions and standard doses of oral liquid medications; and Phase III addresses IV intermittent medications, patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps, epidurals, and standard doses of oral chemotherapy agents.

Key partners in the initiative include the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI), the Pediatric Pharmacy Advocacy Group (PPAG), and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP). Expert panels involved in concentration selection include pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and other involved health professionals from a variety of healthcare organizations. Other local, state, and national organizations will also partner with ASHP for specific areas of the project, including testing, communication, and implementation.

ASHP is currently seeking comments and discussion on the initial draft of proposed standard concentrations for adult continuous infusions. The first compounded oral liquid draft will be posted by June 30, 2016. More drafts will follow as the initiative proceeds.