JCAHO enlists employers' aid in reducing medication errors

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 14, 2005

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Noting that "employers have a critically important role in developing informed health care consumers" in their work force, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations launched its "Speak Up" campaign to avoid medication mistakes, distributing educational and promotional materials to the nation's Fortune 1000 companies.

Martha Lanning, senior director with the small business division of the Cleveland Area Chamber of Commerce, said at a Jan. 27 press conference that medication errors can add up $16,000 to the cost of a patient's hospitalization, which can be a "devastating" expense to a small business's insurance costs.

She also noted that 7,000 people die from medication errors each year compared to 6,000 from workplace accidents.

Among the materials distributed to businesses were wallet cards in which employees are urged to record every prescription drug, over-the-counter medication, and vitamin or herbal supplement they are taking to help avoid any harmful chemical interactions.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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