General Practitioners and Community Pharmacists needed for medication error reporting pilot

4 Oct 2011 | Medication Safety

NZ Pharmacovigilance Centre

General Practitioners and Community Pharmacists are needed for a medication error reporting pilot aimed at strengthening efforts to reduce and prevent medication errors in primary care (a sector which has traditionally been under-recognised in medication safety efforts). 

The Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (MERP) pilot is run by the University of Otago’s NZ Pharmacovigilance Centre (NZPhvC), the national monitoring centre for adverse reactions to therapeutic products.  The system is non-punitive, voluntary and confidential and will establish a national database of medication errors for the purposes of learning and to guide systems-based improvements.   The project is supported by the Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) the RNZCGP, Pharmaceutical Society of NZ and Pharmacy Guild NZ. 

MERP is a medication error and near miss reporting system and pilot participants will be given a link to the Centre’s on-line reporting form, which only takes a few minutes to complete and submit.  The pilot will run until May 2012 during which standardised information captured by the system will be analysed to inform prevention efforts.

To participate in the pilot, or for more information,

please email or phone Desireé Kunac 03 479 5915


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How will my report help prevent medication errors in primary care?

The purpose of reporting is to help us gain greater knowledge about what factors may contribute to medication errors in primary care so we may share lessons learned to prevent similar errors in the future.  MERP will establish a national database of medication errors that originate in primary care which will provide us with better information about the types, causes and outcomes of these events so that we may develop recommendations for preventive measures that can be used to guide systems-based improvements.

Data privacy and confidentiality?

MERP operates within the secure environment of the NZPhvC with strict policies and procedures in place to safeguard the integrity, privacy and confidentiality of data.  Any information produced will be anonymous and will not identify individual patients, health service providers, organisations or reporters. Only NZPhvC staff will have access to the original data submitted.

What should be reported?

MERP is a medication error and near miss reporting system.  Reporting of all types of medication errors is encouraged, not just the serious and sentinel events.  Reports regarding near misses and potential safety issues that could lead to harmful errors are also encouraged.  Reporting of errors related to all types of medications including prescription, pharmacy only and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, vaccines, complementary and herbal remedies, but excluding blood products.

What type of information will I be asked to provide?

You are asked to provide non-identifying factual information about the error. All questions are optional, however, the more information you provide, the more useful the report. Questions focus on the event (ie. Description of event, outcome, medication involved, type of error) and how the error may be prevented (what factors may have contributed to the error, any actions taken or recommendations to prevent similar errors in the future).  We request that identifying information is NOT submitted (e.g., patient name or date of birth, pharmacy name, or healthcare provider names).

Last updated 04/01/2012