Low-technology, cost-efficient strategies for reducing medication errors

Am J Infect Control. 2002 Oct;30(6):351-4. doi: 10.1067/mic.2002.126426.


Medication-related errors are a common cause of patient morbidity and mortality. However, a number of strategies use the latest technology, such as computers and associated hardware and software, to reduce medication-related errors. In this era of reduced operating margins for most hospitals, strategies that employ physician order entry and bar code-labeled medication systems may be prohibitively expensive. Cost-efficient methods are available that can make simple changes in the way medications are mixed, stored, prescribed, and delivered, and they have the potential to have a major effect on medication safety. These methods do not rely on purchasing new hardware or expensive software. They include changing the culture within the hospital to one that focuses on patient safety, developing standardized protocols, developing an education program that provides direct feedback, and using protocols for high-risk medications. Coordinating hospital efforts with regional organizations may also be beneficial in reducing the occurrence of medication-related errors.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols / standards
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Prescriptions / standards
  • Drug Storage / standards
  • Hospital Administration / standards
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / economics*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Pharmacists / standards
  • Pharmacists / statistics & numerical data
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Safety / economics
  • Software


  • Potassium Chloride