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Medication Safety Self-Assessment® for Hospitals
(Canadian Version II)


The Hospital Medication Safety Self-Assessment® is designed to:

  • Heighten awareness of the distinguishing characteristics of a safe hospital medication system; and

  • Create a baseline for hospital efforts to enhance the safety of medication use and evaluate these efforts over time.

The self-assessment is divided into 10 key elements that most significantly influence safe medication use. Each key element is defined by one or more core distinguishing characteristics of a safe medication system. Representative self-assessment items are provided to help you evaluate your success with each of the core distinguishing characteristics.

The Hospital Medication Safety Self-Assessment (MSSA) and its components are copyrighted by ISMP and may not be used in whole or in part for any other purpose or by any other entity except for self-assessment of medication systems by hospitals as part of their ongoing quality improvement activities.

ISMP and ISMP Canada are not standard-setting organizations. As such, the self-assessment items in this document are not purported to represent a minimum standard of practice and should not be considered as such. In fact, some of the self-assessment criteria represent innovative practices and system enhancements that are not widely implemented in most hospitals today. However, their value in reducing errors is grounded in scientific research and expert analysis of medication errors and their causes.

MSSA findings are intended for internal use and become more useful as repeat assessments are performed to see where improvements have been achieved over time. Furthermore, some of the characteristics describe functionality or technology which is not readily used in various hospitals, but represents a potential safety goal.

Changes in the 2006 MSSA:

Split Items - Several items have been split to more accurately reflect practice. Scoring for the entire item is unchanged, i.e., it is split between the two sections.

Deleted Items - Selected items have been combined. In order to maintain continuity of numbering and scoring with previous surveys, inactive items are displayed in light grey type.

New Items - New items have been added. They are placed at the end of each core characteristic section and are sequentially numbered in red, beginning at 196.