NQF endorses 18 measures to improve medication safety

To improve the quality and safety of medication use in the United States, the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed 18 measures for managing over the counter and prescription medications.  The 18 endorsed measures assess prescribing and use of appropriate medications and medication adherence, reconciliation, and monitoring.  The measures are among the first to be endorsed for medication management and help to highlight gaps in measurement and quality improvement for medication use and adherence.

According to the Press Release, the standards focus on helping patients improve their adherence to prescription regimens. Specifically, patients with certain conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and schizophrenia, are more likely to be involved in a preventable adverse drug event due to incorrectly taking medication.  Up to 40 percent of patients do not take their medications as prescribed, and an estimated 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events occur each year. The National Quality Forum hopes these new standards will reduce these numbers by identifying gaps and areas to improve.

(SOURCES: HCPro Patient Safety Monitor, http://hcpro.com, September 23, 2009; National Quality Forum, http://qualityforum.org, accessed September 28, 2009)