Did you know a medical error is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and accounts for 10% of all U.S. Deaths? That’s a big statistic, right?
Let’s discuss what causes Medication Errors.
- Poor handwriting
- Similar sounding or looking drug names
- Drug abbreviations
- Misiteruptation of medication labeling or packaging
- Lack of knowledge or skill
- Incorrect administration
Let’s discuss ways these Errors can be Prevented.
When it is a sound-alike drug,
- Use clear handwriting (or better print the prescription) & use exact spelling
- Read back verbal orders
- Never use abbreviations
Understand patient history...
- This includes understanding drug allergies
When calculating dosage,
- Use decimal points properly. A whole number should not have a zero after the decimal point (2 mg NOT 2.0 mg) and a zero should be placed before any number less than 1 mg (0.2 NOT .2 mg)
In summary, to prevent medical error - the focus should be on establishing a patient-centered integrated medication system. Improved communication between medical practitioners and patients helps establish a patient-centered system. Advancing to electronic prescribing and more clear drug labeling & packaging can significantly reduce medical error and improve efficiencies in the patient prescription process. Keep yourself educated with industry advancements, always seek clinical self-improvement and a medication error will never be associated with your career.