Agreeing on global research priorities for medication safety: an international prioritisation exercise
Journal of Global Health
Agreeing on global research priorities for medication safety: an international prioritisation exercise Objectives Medication errors continue to contribute substantially to global morbidity and mortality. In the context of the recent launch of the World Health Organization' s (WHO) Third Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm, we sought to establish agreement on research priorities for medication safety. Methods We undertook a consensus prioritisation exercise using an approach
... e using an approach developed by the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative. Based on a combination of productivity and citations, we identified leading researchers in patient and medication safety and invited them to participate. We also extended the invitation to a further pool of experts from the WHO Global Patient Safety Network. All experts independently generated research ideas, which they then independently scored based on the criteria of: answerability, effectiveness, innovativeness, implementation, burden reduction and equity. An overall Research Priority Score and Average Expert Agreement were calculated for each research question. Findings 131 experts submitted 333 research ideas, and 42 experts then scored the proposed research questions. The top prioritised research areas were: (1) deploying and scaling technology to enhance medication safety; (2) developing guidelines and standard operating procedures for high-risk patients, medications and contexts; (3) score-based approaches to predicting high-risk patients and situations; (4) interventions to increase patient medication literacy; (5) focused training courses for health professionals; and (6) universally applicable pictograms to avoid medication-related harm. Whilst there was a focus on promoting patient education and involvement across resource settings, priorities identified in high-resource settings centred on the optimisation of existing systems through technology. In low-and middle-resource settings, priorities focused on identifying systemic issues contributing to high-risk situations. Conclusions WHO now plans to work with global, regional and national research funding agencies to catalyse the investment needed to enable teams to pursue these research priorities in medication safety across high-, middleand low-resource country settings. Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article contains supplementary material. journal of health global Medication errors are common and are responsible for considerable -potentially avoidable -morbidity and mortality  . They are also costly for patients, health systems and society; globally medication errors impose an estimated financial burden of US $42 billion per year, accounting for almost 1% of total expenditure on health worldwide  .