A leading supporter for medication safety has agreed to join ECRI Institute in a deal that is expected to form one of the largest patient safety advocates.
The Institute for Safe Medication Practices on Wednesday agreed to become a subsidiary of the ECRI Institute beginning next year, pending final approval by Pennsylvania state regulators.
ECRI Institute President and CEO Dr. Marcus Schabacker said the two organizations have partnered on various initiatives for years and felt the changing healthcare environment made the timing right for the deal.
He said the ISMP's focus on preventing medication errors would be a valuable addition to ECRI's evidence-based research on patient safety, which includes medical device testing and its website of clinical practice guidelines.
"We're leveraging both our expertise as well as our call points in the healthcare community," Schabacker said. "Bringing these two entities together gives us very comprehensive coverage of the entire healthcare spectrum."
Under the terms of the agreement, Schabacker along with two other ECRI executives will join the ISMP board of trustees.
ISMP President Michael Cohen will continue to lead the organization. He said joining ECRI seems to be a natural fit since they share many objectives.
Preventable medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S, with a third of reported errors involving medications.
While ECRI has been doing work in medication safety, having ISMP's programs including its national voluntary practitioner medication error reporting program and error information newsletters will only accelerate those efforts, Cohen said.
ISMP staff will gain access to some new resources, such as laboratories, human factors engineers and medical equipment.
"It just made all the sense in the world to bring these two big pieces of the puzzle together," Cohen said.
The addition of ISMP's 25-member staff will make ECRI Institute one of the world's largest patient safety organizations. Schabacker said ECRI currently has nearly 500 employees.
Approximately 4 out of every 5 U.S. hospitals rely on ECRI Institute's patient safety data and clinical practice recommendations.
The move is approximately one year since ECRI launched its guidelines trust website to serve as a replacement to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's national guideline clearinghouse, which the agency shut down in July 2018 due to budget cuts.
The trust has received more than 1,400 guidelines from 131 participating guideline developers since its launch last November with more than 9.200 registered users from 85 countries, according to Schabacker.
"We were really able to create penetration and creation both with the guideline developers and the user community," he said.