7 RecommendationsOncology Times: August 25th, 2006 - Volume 28 - Issue 16 - p 10 doi: 10.1097/01.COT.0000295012.56138.52 Article The Institute of Medicine committee made seven recommendations to reduce medication errors: Patients need more information and education designed to strengthen their capacity for sound medication self-management, and they should maintain an up-to-date list of every drug (including non-prescription drugs) they are taking. Government agencies should enhance the resource base for consumer-oriented drug information and medication self-management support. All health care systems should immediately make complete patient-information and decision-support tools available to both physicians and patients. These medical systems should also capture information on medication safety and use these data to improve the safety of their health care delivery. Part of this improvement should include formulating a plan to write prescriptions electronically by 2008, and implementing that plan by 2010. Government agencies, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, and the US Pharmacopeia should collaborate to improve the labeling and information inserts for drugs, and then examine the practice of distributing free samples for safety issues. Industry and government agencies should collaborate to establish standards for a common drug nomenclature to be used in drug databases in all clinical information technology systems, based on standards for the national health information infrastructure. (These drug databases need to be kept up-to-date; in a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Scott Strayer, MD, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, found that only two of 15 popular drug databases reported the recall of a widely used pain-killer, valdecoxib [Bextra], on the day the drug recall was announced— and several took months to report this recall.) Congress should allocate the necessary funds and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality should mount a broad research agenda on the safe and appropriate use of medications across all care settings. Oversight and regulatory organizations and payers should use all available channels, including legislation and accreditation, to motivate the adoption of practices and technologies that have been shown to reduce medication errors. © 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.