Amedication error can be defined as any preventable episode that may cause inappropriate use of medication that can harm patients, even being under the control of a healthcare professional. These events can be due to professional practices, procedures, healthcare-related products, and systems that include order communications prescribing errors, monitoring, dispensing, and more.
Medication errors are prevalent and amongst the most common medical errors that harm nearly 1.5 million people each year. The excess cost of treating injuries occurred through drug-related problems in hospitals incur at least USD 3.5 billion yearly. The safety of patients is still a major health concern. The Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) has identified the importance of this concern and is helping to support programs that aim to prevent medication errors and understand the need for medication reconciliation.
The errors are not always confined to hospital settings. Patients can have several doctors, specialists, and prescribers, and the lack of communication amongst these providers can cause medication errors. Some of which include:
It has been often observed that drug reports and histories are incomplete, the dosage or the drug names may be missing from the reports, and over-the-counter medicines which are non-prescribed are omitted. Hospitals and healthcare facilities use this medication information for treatment and tackling adverse medical events throughout the patient’s stay. The erroneous drug usage histories lead to the discontinuity of inappropriate therapy, discontinued treatments, and failure to detect medication-related concerns.
The process to record medication histories is obsolete and has been discussed as inadequate. It can be potentially dangerous for patients who require immediate improvement for their medical causes. This can cause immense backlash when considering medication reconciliation for inpatient treatments as well.
There can be errors on a patient’s medication chart when there’s a transition to care. It can happen during admission to a hospital, transferring from emergency departments to other units, transferring from ICUs to the ward, and transferring from hospital to home like senior care facilities. Senior patients have several prescribed medications and they are most affected by the errors in medication. Medication omission is listed as the most common unintentional problem and can go unidentified before they affect patients’ health.
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