MPA | Patient Safety Resource Center: Patient Resources

Ensuring patient safety is a national priority, and everyone involved in the health care system has a role, including the patient. Patients have an important role in making their care experience safer by staying informed, speaking up, and becoming active and involved in their health care decisions.

Research shows that patients who take part in decisions about their health care are more likely to have better outcomes. The more information patients have about health care, the better they can make decisions about what is best for them.

Patients are encouraged to utilize the resources below to assist in ensuring their own safety. If you have any questions or would like more information, please be sure to talk to your pharmacist.

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Introduction to Addiction

Drug addiction is an illness where a person can’t stop taking a drug even when it may cause them or others harm. Once addicted, a person can become sick if they don’t get the thing they are addicted to. Addiction is often long lasting and can involve periods of getting better to getting worse and back again. Without treatment, addiction can worsen health and even cause death. There is no cure, but the disease can be managed, and many people can and do recover.

Addiction can be due to drugs, alcohol, and other things. Opioid addictions are on the rise. Opioids include the illegal drug heroin as well as many common prescription medications used for pain such as Norco and Oxycontin. Opioid overdose deaths continue to increase with 130 Americans dying each day.

What a Pharmacist Provides
Pharmacists care for patients and families struggling with addiction in many ways. Some work at medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs specifically designed for patients with addiction. Others work in hospitals and help doctors and nurses to provide care.

Community pharmacists offer patients and family members easy access to advice and referrals to specialists if needed. Also, many pharmacies now carry naloxone – the drug that can reverse the effects of opioids in an overdose situation.

Educational Resources for Consumers

    • Be Medwise
      Use this resource to access consumer tools that cover medication issues that represent a majority of inquiries to National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE), including how to talk about prescriptions; wise use of nonprescription medications, herbals and supplements; flu and immunization information; safe storage and disposal; and more.
    • BeSafeRx: Know Your Online Pharmacy
      Use this resource from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to learn about the dangers of buying prescription medications from fake online pharmacies, including the risks, the signs and how to find a safe online pharmacy.
    • CredibleMeds
      Use this resource from AZCERT, Inc. to access tools you can use to safely use medication; a list of recommended websites for consumers to find free, useful and accurate medication information; a downloadable medication list form and more.
    • The Empowered Patient Coalition
      Use this resource to access a wide variety of tools from The Empowered Patient Coalition, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization created by patient advocates, including fact sheets and checklists, resources to help patients become more involved in their care, an advocate directory, event reporting information, publications and training.
    • Food and Drug Administration (FDA) For Consumers
      Use this resource to access consumer updates on all FDA activities and regulated products, information on how to protect yourself, multi-media consumer information (videos, podcasts, etc.), consumer information for particular audiences (seniors, women, students, etc.) and print publications.
    • Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) Consumer Med Safety
      Use this resource to access medication safety articles, tools and resources, the latest FDA alerts, an insulin safety center, information on reporting errors and more.
    • Know Your Dose
      Use this resource from the Acetaminophen Awareness Coalition to educate yourself on acetaminophen use, including what you need to know about using medications containing acetaminophen, a pediatric dosing chart, frequently asked questions and more.
    • That’s My Pharmacist Campaign
      Use this resource to access materials that encourage patients to get to know their pharmacist and utilize their expertise to improve medication therapy. Each year, the Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP) Public Affairs Committee conduct a statewide That’s My Pharmacist campaign in conjunction with Michigan Pharmacy Week in October. The campaign encourages patients to visit their local pharmacy and get to know their pharmacist. Be sure to utilize the materials provided on the Web site to make your own medication list, learn about 10 things you should do when you get a new prescription, questions to ask your pharmacist and much more!
    • Safe Medication - An ASHP Resource
      Use this resource to learn more about both prescription and over-the-counter medications. This information is based on the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists' drug information resources that are developed independently by pharmacists and other medication experts. The information is prepared according to guidelines established for useful written consumer information by the FDA and an expert committee established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

Medication Shortages

Mobile Applications

Use the app store on your smart phone or tablet device to search for these health management and patient safety applications.

    • Care4Today Mobile Health Manager
      The Care4Today Mobile Health Manager app from Janssen Healthcare Innovation helps you keep track of medical needs, including appointments, medications and reminders. This app is available for Android, Blackberry and iPhone devices. You can also visit the mobile Web site at

    • First Aid App by American Red Cross
      The first aid app from the American Red Cross puts expert advice for everyday emergencies in your hand and gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies. This app is available for Android and iPhone devices.

    • My Medications
      The American Medical Association offers an app for patients to store, carry and share their critical medical information, including emergency contacts, medications and allergy details. This app is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

    • App
      The Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Agriculture monitor the safety of thousands of products and issue hundreds of recall announcements each year of millions of products. Now, those recalls are right at your fingertips, thanks to the new mobile application. This app is available for Android devices. You can also visit the mobile Web site at

    • WebMD Apps
      WebMD offers a variety of mobile apps that allow you to research conditions, check symptoms, and access medication and treatment information. Visit for a complete listing or search for “WebMD” in the app store on your mobile device.

Patient Safety Resources for Senior Citizens

    • AARP Health: Drugs and Supplements
      Use this resource to access health tools, studies and research, side effect and safety articles, drug and supplement resources and other valuable information for those 50 years of age and older.

    • American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Beers Criteria
      Use this resource to access a printable PDF guide to the AGS Beers Criteria, which was developed to assist healthcare providers in improving medication safety in older adults. AGS updated the Beers Criteria for safe and effective prescribing in the elderly in 2012. This criteria aims to identify medications that pose potential risks outweighing potential benefits for people 65 and older. This information helps prevent harmful side effects that may be life-threatening and other adverse drug events. Patients and professionals are encouraged to visit the AGS website to access a listing of the new criteria, including a printable PDF.

    • American Geriatrics Society (AGS) Health in Aging Initiative
      Use this resource to access comprehensive, up-to-date information about what to do to stay healthy and what to do when health problems arise later in life.

    • Medication Use Safety Training (MUST) for Seniors
      Use this resources to access an online educational campaign and workshop designed to promote safe and appropriate medication use. This interactive program includes a ready-to-use PowerPoint presentation with presenter notes and handouts, tips for taking medications safely, feature articles, videos with experts and much more.

    • National Institutes of Health (NIH): Senior Health
      Use this resource to access health videos, training tools, brochures and advice on a variety of topics related to healthy aging.

    • Pill Identifier
      Use this resource to identify unknown medications based on their color, shape, size and imprint.

Reporting a Medication Error or Adverse Event

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA has a variety of reporting options:

    • Complete voluntary Form FDA 3500 online. FDA Form 3500 should be used by health care professionals and consumers for voluntary reporting of adverse events noted spontaneously in the course of clinical care. Events that occur during clinical trials under an Investigational New Drug application are mandatory reports and are submitted to FDA as specified in the investigational new drug/biologic regulations or investigational device exemptions. Do not submit vaccine reporting, veterinary medicine and Internet fraud via this form.

    • Call 1-800-332-1088 to report by telephone

    • Download the form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-332-0178 (send only page 1 plus any continuation pages; do not send instruction pages)

    • MedWatch: The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program
      This FDA safety information and adverse event reporting program provides clinically important safety details and resources that allow people to report a serious medical product issue, report unlawful sales of medical products online and ways to stay informed by signing up for MedWatch alerts via e-mail, Twitter or RSS feeds.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP)

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

    • Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)
      The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a national surveillance program co-sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This system works to collect information regarding post-marketing safety issues that occur after vaccines are administered in the United States. VAERS provides a forum for adverse events to be reported, analyzed and made know to the public, as well as transmitting this information directly to providers, patients and manufacturers. 

Safe Disposal of Medications

Transitioning Health Care Facilities

    • The Joint Commission Transitions of Care Portal
      Use these resources to educate yourself on home care, what you need to know about serious illness and palliative care, planning your follow-up care, preventing errors in your care, what you should know about pain management and more.

    • National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC)
      Use these resources developed by the NTOCC to better understand issues associated with transitioning from one health care setting to another and tools to help you navigate transitions.

Patient Safety
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