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Errors in health care facilities are common and often unrecognized. We have used our clinical event monitor to prevent and detect medication errors by scrutinizing electronic messages sent to it when any medication order is written in our facility. A growing collection of medication safety rules covering dose limit errors, laboratory monitoring, and other topics may be applied to each medication order message to provide an additional layer of protection beyond existing order checks, reminders, and alerts available within our computer-based record system. During a typical day the event monitor receives 4802 messages, of which 4719 pertain to medication orders. We have found the clinical event monitor to be a valuable tool for clinicians and quality management groups charged with improving medication safety.