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News Release

ISMP Launches New Perioperative Medication Safety Guidelines

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

For a copy of ISMP’s Medication Safety Self Assessment® for Perioperative Settings, visit:


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About ISMP

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