Why Should Medication Incidents be Reported?
Although most medication incidents don't cause harm, some have caused serious harm and even death. Often, mistakes
with medication are caused by underlying problems in the system. For example, just as confusing road signs can cause
accidents on the road, problems such as look-alike labels, confusing equipment and poor handwriting can lead to
mistakes in health care.
When incidents are reported and reviewed, problems that could increase the chance of an error happening can often be
found and corrected. This is a much better way to prevent errors than punishing the person who made the mistake. Blaming
the person who made the mistake without getting to the root of the problem will not prevent the same mistake from being
made by someone else. By reviewing incident reports and suggesting safer ways to prescribe, package, dispense or give
medication, we can help prevent harmful errors.
Recently, Canada has made great progress in preventing harmful errors by developing the Canadian Medication Incident
Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS). Up until now, most reports have been provided by healthcare
workers. CMIRPS needs information that consumers can provide, but there hasn't been a convenient location where consumers
can report medication incidents. The SafeMedicationUse.ca site will provide a better way for consumers to submit incident
reports and help improve the system. The more incident reports we receive, the better we will be able to take actions to
prevent them from happening in the future.