Using Lean to improve medication administration safety: in search of the "perfect dose."
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
Errors during administration are one of the most common types of medication errors, with one study showing that they occur in nearly 25% of doses in hospitalized patients. Lean methodology, derived from the Toyota Production System, is increasingly being used in health care as a way to design safer and more efficient systems of care. This study reports on the application of Lean approaches to improving medication administration safety. A redesigned medication administration system that incorporated human factors engineering techniques to minimize interruptions, implement barcode medication administration, and standardize nursing workflows resulted in a significant reduction in administration error rates. The study provides a useful example of how quality improvement techniques originally developed in other industries can be successfully applied in health care.