Ask ECRI: Double Checks for High-Alert Medications

February 11, 2021 | Health System Risk Management


​​​A member recently asked about the validity of moving away from the independent double-check process for high-alert medications.

​​The ECRI-affiliated Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), in its article Independent Double Checks: Worth the Effort if Used Judiciously and Properly, emphasizes that independent double checks for high-alert medications reduce the risk of human error. Noncompliance with double checks seems to focus on the time required to perform the double check. Further, inconsistent or inefficient application of the double check can result in limited benefit. ISMP notes that double checks are not appropriate for "all high-alert medications, all vulnerable patients, or all high-risk tasks"; they advise ensuring that double checks are indeed conducted...

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