Medicine Safety Project

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) is working with the Dallas–Ft. Worth Hospital Council, the Dallas and Tarrant County Medical Societies, physicians, pharmacies, other insurers and organizations to promote medication safety with health care consumers.

The Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Identifying and Preventing Medication Errors estimates there are at least 1.5 million preventable adverse drug events that occur annually in the United States.1 One of the challenges in reducing medication errors is obtaining accurate information when consumers present themselves for care.

It has been estimated that poor communication is responsible for 50 percent of all medication errors.2

Preventing errors requires consumers to accurately communicate his/her personal medication information (including over-the-counter medications, herbals and supplements) to physicians and other health care providers. 

The Medication Safety Project Educate Before You Medicate will emphasize the importance of health care consumers to:

  • Know what medications they are taking and why (Educate)
  • Be prepared to accurately communicate their medication information to physicians and other health care providers (Communicate)
  • Carry a list of the medicine they take. (Participate)

Many consumers are unaware of their responsibility to know about their medications or the existence of simple and effective tools available to them to record this information, such as wallet cards, online tools available through their health plans, and printouts from their local pharmacies. Two such resources are now available to help consumers achieve medication safety:

  • Medication Safety Brochure -- Provides consumers with important information about safely taking medicine at home, in the hospital, at the drug store and at the doctor’s office:

  • My Medication Wallet Card -- A useful place for consumers to record up-to-date information about the medicine they are taking, immunizations, provider contact information and other vital health information:

By working across the entire spectrum of health professions, the Medicine Safety Project can achieve more knowledgeable health care consumers, increase patient safety, increase efficiency in the delivery of health care, and decrease the number of medication errors and/or adverse drug reactions.

1 Aspden, P., Wolcott, J., Bootman, J., and Cronenwett, L.  eds.  Preventing Medication Errors:  Quality Chasm Series.  Washington D.C.:  National Academies Press, 2006.

2 Institute for Healthcare Improvement.  “Reconcile Medications at All Transition Points.” 
Topics:  Patient Safety:  Medication Systems:  Changes.