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News Release

ISMP Launches New Perioperative Medication Safety Guidelines

Recommendations Address Key Issues in Inpatient and Ambulatory Settings

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA—Perioperative and procedural settings present a unique set of medication safety challenges due to the complexity, numerous handoffs, and fast pace of patient care. The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has published the first set of safe practice guidelines to support hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), and other procedural locations in addressing identified national gaps in medication safety, including implementation of organization-specific plans to reduce harmful patient events.

“ISMP hopes healthcare organizations and practitioners use the new guidelines to proactively identify and prioritize gaps in their medication systems and practices that are not being recognized through medication error reporting and analysis,” says ISMP President Rita K. Jew, PharmD, MBA, BCPPS, FASHP. “The recommendations are not just for hospitals--ambulatory sites, including ASCs, can also use them as a roadmap to limit risk.”

The ISMP Guidelines for Safe Medication Use in Perioperative and Procedural Settings:

  • Address best practices associated with labeling and storage of medications across all phases of perioperative care.
  • Cover key elements including drug labeling/packaging, drug standardization, and medication delivery device acquisition, use, and monitoring.
  • Challenge common practices that limit the protections offered by proven safety technologies, including smart infusion pumps.
  • Support the use of barcode scanning for real-time drug identification and electronic record documentation throughout perioperative and procedural care.

The new guidelines as well as the ISMP Medication Safety Self Assessment® for Perioperative Settings were developed under a contract from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The self assessment was an essential first step toward understanding the current state of practice, and helped healthcare organizations evaluate their medication safety practices and identify specific opportunities for improvement.

With early assessment results as a backdrop, ISMP held a two-day national invitational perioperative medication safety summit in November 2021 with clinical experts, representatives from professional organizations, and industry leaders. Participants helped develop best practice statements that served as a foundation for the final set of guidelines.

For a copy of the new guidelines, visit: Guidelines for Safe Medication Use in Perioperative and Procedural Settings | Institute For Safe Medication Practices (

For ISMP’s perioperative self assessment, visit: Medication Safety Self Assessment® for Perioperative Settings | Institute For Safe Medication Practices (

About the Institute for Safe Medication Practices

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) is the nation’s first 501c (3) nonprofit organization devoted entirely to preventing medication errors. ISMP is known and respected for its medication safety information. For more than 25 years, it also has served as a vital force for progress. ISMP’s advocacy work alone has resulted in numerous necessary changes in clinical practice, public policy, and drug labeling and packaging. Among its many initiatives, ISMP runs the only national voluntary practitioner medication error reporting program, publishes newsletters with real-time error information read and trusted throughout the global healthcare community, and offers a wide range of unique educational programs, tools, and guidelines. In 2020, ISMP formally affiliated with ECRI to create one of the largest healthcare quality and safety entities in the world, and ECRI and the ISMP PSO is a federally certified patient safety organization by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As an independent watchdog organization, ISMP receives no advertising revenue and depends entirely on charitable donations, educational grants, newsletter subscriptions, and volunteer efforts to pursue its life-saving work. Visit and follow @ismp_org to learn more.

For more information, contact:
Laurie Menyo, Director of Strategic Communications
610.825.6000 ext. 5310