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Dubai: The Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH), the regulator of the health care sector in Abu Dhabi, has published an updated standard on Reporting Medication Errors (ME) specifying that certain medical errors need to be reported within 48 hours while others can be reported within a month to ensure the prevention of MEs in the future.

The updated standard adopts the Culture of Safety rule, designed to promote the development and implementation of the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) system — a concept adopted by international organisations such as the Agency for Health care Research and Quality (AHRQ). Under the updated standard, health care facilities must report ME incidents associated with permanent patient harm, that require intervention to sustain life, or associated with patient death within 48 hours of identifying and documenting the error. Whereas, MEs that caused no harm or temporary harm to the patient can be reported to DoH on a monthly basis.

In the case of MEs taking place in health care facilities in Abu Dhabi, the standard requires health care providers including pharmacies to address the errors by identifying the root causes that led to them. Using this information, health care experts will be expected to conduct thorough analyses of the errors, thereby seeking ways to improve the medical system and prevent similar errors from taking place in the future.

The new standard also stipulates that health care facilities operating in Abu Dhabi must develop long-term monitoring plans to ensure changes come into effect after MEs occur. Furthermore, the standard requires health care facilities to report all MEs including near misses, errors that were prevented due to intervention by a health care staff or the patient.

Dr Khaled Al Jaberi, Director of Health care Licensing and Medical Education Division at DoH, said: “Our department continues to lay the foundation for corporate governance, implementing the highest standards of services and safety in quality to maintain ‘A Healthier Abu Dhabi’. Through our efforts, we aim to bring locals and residents highest levels of safety and quality of health care services with the lowest levels of MEs, in line with key global indicators.”

Al Jaberi added: “We aim to reduce MEs as much as possible, whilst ensuring these errors are studied, reviewed and procedures are established to prevent them from reoccurring.”