National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention

Overview

Adverse drug events (ADEs) are injuries resulting from drug-related medical interventions. ADEs can occur in any health care setting, including:

  • Inpatient, such as acute care hospitals
  • Outpatient
  • Long-term care settings, such as nursing homes

Given the U.S. population’s large — and ever-increasing — medication exposure, the potential for harms from ADEs constitutes a critical patient safety and public health challenge.

Magnitude of the Problem

In inpatient settings, ADEs:

  • Account for an estimated 1 in 3 of all hospital adverse events
  • Affect about 2 million hospital stays each year
  • Prolong hospital stays by 1.7 to 4.6 days

In outpatient settings, ADEs account annually for:

  • Over 3.5 million physician office visits
  • An estimated 1 million emergency department visits
  • Approximately 125,000 hospital admissions

ADE Prevention: 2014 Action Plan Conference

The ADE Prevention: 2014 Action Plan Conference was held on October 30, 2014 to share the recommendations outlined in the ADE Action Plan. The conference facilitated dialogue among participants to identify opportunities that ensure safe and high-quality care for patients prescribed anticoagulants, diabetes agents, and opioids.

View the conference slides [PDF - 12 MB].

National Action Plan for ADE Prevention

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), on behalf of the Federal Interagency Steering Committee for Adverse Drug Events, is pleased to release the final version of the National Action Plan for Adverse Drug Event Prevention (ADE Action Plan).

The ADE Action Plan [PDF - 2.3 MB] includes:

The ADE Action Plan addresses a defined group of ADEs that are considered to be common, clinically significant, preventable, and measurable; resulting from high-priority drug classes; and occurring largely in high-risk populations.

Three key drug classes identified as initial targets for the ADE Action Plan include:

  1. Anticoagulants (primary ADE of concern: bleeding)
  2. Diabetes agents (primary ADE of concern: hypoglycemia)
  3. Opioids (primary ADE of concern: accidental overdoses, oversedation, respiratory depression)

To align the efforts of federal health agencies to reduce patient harms from these specific ADEs nationally, the ADE Action Plan identifies a four-pronged approach:

  • Surveillance — Coordinate existing federal surveillance resources and data to assess the health burden and rates of ADEs.
  • Prevention — Share existing evidence-based prevention tools across federal agencies and with non-federal health care providers and patients.
  • Incentives and Oversight — Explore opportunities, including financial incentives and oversight authorities, to promote ADE prevention.
  • Research — Identify current knowledge gaps and future research needs (unanswered questions) for ADE prevention.

One of the broader goals of the ADE Action Plan is to engage leaders at the federal, state, and local levels to implement evidence-based guidelines and engage in strategies that will help to prevent ADEs. The implementation of these strategies is expected to result in safer and higher quality health care services, reduced health care costs, informed and engaged consumers, and, ultimately, improved health outcomes.

The ADE Action Plan also provides federal agencies and external stakeholders with a framework to identify strategies and select specific actions to take. The intended end‐users of the ADE Action Plan are policymakers, health care professionals, public and private sector organizations, and communities who can organize and take action toward preventing high‐priority ADEs.

This graphic notice,External Link: You are leaving Health.gov, means that you are leaving health.gov and entering a non-Federal Web site. View full disclaimer.