Understanding the Criticality and Strategies of Preventing Medication Errors



Due to the current healthcare challenges, medication errors are still a major concern in our healthcare system. According to Rayhan et al, 7,000- 9,000 people die as a result of medication errors in the United States alone and exceed the cost of $40 billion each year. These errors can not only cause deaths but impact a patient physical, mental and emotional well being. The high demand for healthcare professionals and the shortages facilities are experiencing can increase the chances of medication errors occurring.


What are Medication Errors?


A medication error is defined as "any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the healthcare professional, patient, or consumer,” according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. A fast pace environment and demand from patients receiving their medication on time increases the chance of healthcare professionals making a mistake by providing the wrong medication, wrong dose and/or wrong route. This increases concerns for safety, lack of trust in our healthcare system and decreases satisfaction scores.


Strategies to preventing future errors.


It is ALWAYS important to check orders to ensure the right medication is provided. As a healthcare professional, if it does not look or sound right, then most likely it is not right. Always call the doctor or pharmacist for re verification. Healthcare providers have to advocate for their patients especially if they are unable to advocate for themselves. Taking an extra 10 seconds to re verify orders and medication can save lives, eliminate a guilty consciousness and keep an active professional license.

Although patients may demand their medication to be provided earlier, stay on track per doctor's orders. Some medications may absorb or alter if not taken correctly with food or may cause an overdose. Ensure you are providing the correct medication to the correct patient. Some patients have the same last name and first name, that’s why it’s always important to reverify orders and call out the medication you are providing to the patient. You will be surprised how many know their medication and what the pill looks like.


Nurses are in high demand across all healthcare settings and Reliable Healthcare Staffing has a team of professionals ready to ease the strain of working short staff and possibly decreasing medical errors. Being properly staffed will not only decrease medical errors but also increase patient and employee safety and satisfaction scores. The utilization of our organization will aid in the purpose of customer satisfaction to help improve facilities overall operations in making sure every patient is properly cared for. Our main goal is always safety and partnering with a facility that cares for their staff as well as their patients is the key to both customer and employee satisfaction.



References


  1. Tariq RA, Vashisht R, Sinha A, et al. Medication Dispensing Errors And Prevention. [Updated 2022 Apr 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519065/


  1. Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (2019, August 23). Working to Reduce Medication Errors. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-consumers-and-patients-drugs/working-reduce-medication-errors#:%7E:text=A%20medication%20error%20is%20defined,Medication%20Error%20Reporting%20and%20Prevention.


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