The need for organizational change in patient safety initiatives

Int J Med Inform. 2006 Dec;75(12):809-17. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2006.05.043. Epub 2006 Jul 25.


Objectives: This study describes a computer simulation model that has been developed to explore organizational changes required to improve patient safety based on a medication error reporting system.

Methods: Model parameters for the simulation model were estimated from data submitted to the MEDMARX medication error reporting system from 570 healthcare facilities in the U.S. The model's results were validated with data from the Pittsburgh Regional Healthcare Initiative consisting of 44 hospitals in Pennsylvania that have adopted the MEDMARX medication error reporting system. The model was used to examine the effects of organizational changes in response to the error reporting system. Four interventions were simulated involving the implementation of computerized physician order entry, decision support systems and a clinical pharmacist on hospital rounds.

Conclusions: Results of the analysis indicate that improved patient safety requires more than clinical initiatives and voluntary reporting of errors. Organizational change is essential for significant improvements in patient safety. In order to be successful, these initiatives must be designed and implemented through organizational support structures and institutionalized through enhanced education, training, and implementation of information technology that improves work flow capabilities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adverse Drug Reaction Reporting Systems / organization & administration*
  • Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems / organization & administration*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Drug Therapy, Computer-Assisted / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems / organization & administration
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Models, Organizational*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Safety Management
  • Time Factors
  • United States