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How to prevent medication-related harm in practice

Understand the theory and practice of medication safety.

Medication errors, potentially leading to serious harm, can occur at any stage of the medicines use process. Over the past few years, a considerable amount of research and quality improvement has focused on tackling these problems. This book focuses on one aspect of medication safety – preventable harm relating to medication use in clinical practice. It does not address other important aspects of medication safety such as pharmacovigilance, illicit drug use, antimicrobial stewardship or patient adherence.

The book brings together the key aspects of preventing harm from medicines use. It is divided into three sections and within them, chapters have been written by authors from around the world who are experts in their chosen field.

The first section sets the scene by describing the problems that can occur in each of the stages of medication use: prescribing and monitoring, dispensing, administration and, finally, professional communication and medication safety.

The second section considers a range of issues: measurement, education, psychology, sociotechnical theories, systems design, quality improvement and safety culture. The chapter authors present relevant theories and apply them specifically to the topic of medication safety.

The final section considers approaches to interventions and solutions, but these may vary considerably because what works in one country or setting may not be appropriate in another. Therefore, each chapter in this section includes commentaries from relevant experts, including patients, who provide different perspectives from those of the chapter authors.

This book is extremely well referenced, citing important papers from around the world, and offers an overview of both the theory and practice of medication safety, summarising the national and international literature and offering practical solutions to common issues. It has succeeded in bringing together a wealth of research conducted in the area of safe medicines use. It will be of great value to healthcare professionals, researchers, medication safety officers and all those concerned with patient safety.

Laurence A. Goldberg



Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20200622

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  • ‘Safety in medication use’, edited by Mary P. Tully and Bryony Dean Franklin.

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