Types of Medication Errors

The Council realized the need for a standardized categorization of errors. On July 16, 1996, the NCC MERP adopted a Medication Error Index that classifies an error according to the severity of the outcome. It is hoped that the index will help health care practitioners and institutions to track medication errors in a consistent, systematic manner.

The index considers factors such as whether the error reached the patient and, if the patient was harmed, and to what degree. The Council encourages the use of the index in all health care delivery settings and by researchers and vendors of medication error tracking software. The ISMP Medication Errors Reporting Program has implemented this index for use in its database.


Medication Error Index

Reference: Hartwig, S.C., Denger, S.D., & Schneider, P.J. (1991) Severity-indexed, incident report-based medication error-reporting program. Am J Hosp Pharm, 48. 2611-2616

Adopted: 
July 16, 1996
Revised: 
February 20, 2001