Dimension: Medication Management

Rationale for measurement

Medicines are the most common treatment used in health care and contribute to significant improvement in health when used appropriately. However, medicines can also be associated with harm and the common use of medicine means they are associated with more errors and adverse events than any other aspect of health care. While rates of serious harm are low, errors can affect health outcome. The prevalence of medication errors is of particular concern because the majority of these errors are generally preventable.

Measurement methodology

In the absence of an internationally accepted robust method for measuring medication incidents, incidents are calculated per 100 Bed Days Used (BDU).


  • there is no internationally accepted methodology for measuring medication errors or performance target and the RCSI HG does not have access to national performance data. However, internationally, incidents are estimated to occur at a rate of 1 error per hospitalised patient per day in the USA (Institute of Medicine USA Prevention of Medication Errors – 2006).


RCSI Hospital Group

  • whilst values demonstrated are significantly lower than US study, there is evidence that current reporting control constructs are less than optimal with resultant under-reporting at this time