New Troubling Institute of Medicine Report

In 1999, NIH’s Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report titled “To Err is Human” that rocked the medical community with its conclusion that medical errors cause 44,000 to 98,000 deaths annually in American hospitals. The report sparked a significant patient safety movement that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has endorsed in connection with the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Yesterday, the IOM issued a report concluding that at least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications. The IOM report encourages the use of electronic prescribing to reduce the number of errors. IOM also released a fact sheet on how medication errors can be prevented. This would be a good publication to widely circulate.