ISMP Website for Healthcare Professionals
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), based in suburban Philadelphia, is the nation’s only 501c (3) nonprofit organization devoted entirely to medication error prevention and safe medication use. ISMP represents over 30 years of experience in helping healthcare practitioners keep patients safe, and continues to lead efforts to improve the medication use process. The organization is known and respected worldwide as the premier resource for impartial, timely, and accurate medication safety information.
The Institute has a long history of achievements. Its medication error prevention efforts began in 1975 with a groundbreaking and continuing column in Hospital Pharmacy that increases understanding and educates healthcare professionals and others about medication error prevention. In 2004, the Institute celebrated the 10th anniversary of its official incorporation as a nonprofit organization.
Today, a continuously expanding core of knowledge in medication safety fuels the Institute’s highly effective initiatives to improve the medication use process. These initiatives, which are built upon a non-punitive approach and system-based solutions, fall into five key areas: knowledge, analysis, education, cooperation, and communication.
More than 30 years ago, ISMP started a cornerstone of its medication error prevention efforts - a voluntary practitioner error-reporting program to learn about errors happening across the nation, understand their causes, and share “lessons learned” with the healthcare community. ISMP is also responsible for reviewing all medication error reports submitted by healthcare facilities to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Each year, ISMP's national Medication Errors Reporting Program (MERP), receives hundreds of error reports from healthcare professionals. Detailed information about the impact of the MERP can be found here. In addition, ISMP’s wholly owned corporate subsidiary, Med-E.R.R.S. (Medical Error Recognition and Revision Strategies), works directly and confidentially with the pharmaceutical industry to prevent errors that stem from confusing or misleading naming, labeling, packaging, and device design.
In addition, ISMP now is certified as a Patient Safety Organization (PSO) by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Because reporting to a PSO confers both privilege and confidentiality to the information reported, ISMP’s PSO status will afford an even higher level of protection when clinicians and organizations report errors or engage in other types of consulting services with the Institute. In addition, ISMP can work with other PSOs to provide expert analysis of error data--click here for more information.
The Institute’s other initiatives include publishing four "ISMP Medication Safety Alert!®" newsletters for healthcare professionals and consumers that reach nearly a million total readers; presenting frequent educational programs, including teleconferences on current medication use issues; offering posters, videos, patient brochures, books and other resources; developing valuable medication safety tools such as lists of high alert drugs and potentially dangerous abbreviations; and providing confidential consulting services to healthcare systems to proactively evaluate medication systems or analyze medication-related sentinel events. ISMP collaborates on a continuing basis with a wide variety of partners--healthcare practitioners, legislative and regulatory bodies, healthcare institutions, consumers, healthcare professional organizations, regulatory and accrediting agencies, employer and insurer groups, and the pharmaceutical industry.
As an independent watchdog organization, ISMP receives no advertising revenue and depends entirely on charitable donations, educational grants, newsletter subscriptions, and volunteer efforts to pursue its lifesaving work.