There are more medications on the market than ever before. And while having more medication can improve treatment and treatment options for people, it can also increase the potential for medication-related errors, which is already a serious issue. In fact, an estimated 1.3 million people suffer injuries because of medication errors every year, according to reports.
Below, we discuss some of the most common types of these errors as well as what steps patients and doctors can take to prevent them.
Drugs don’t always interact well with each other. Patients need to know this so that they fully disclose all their medications to their doctors.
Doctors must also be diligent in what they choose to prescribe. They must also thoroughly review patients’ medication histories before prescribing anything to avoid harmful interactions.
In the hospital, a doctor or nurse might administer too much or too little of a medication. This can cause additional problems for a patient that put his or her life in danger.
To prevent errors outside of the hospital doctors must be clear in their instructions to the pharmacy; the pharmacy must accurately fill that prescription; the patient must comply with orders from the doctor regarding dosing.
Wrong type of medication
With so many drugs on the market, it has never been easier to confuse medications. A doctor might misstate the name of a drug; a nurse might administer a similar-looking but different fluid in an IV; patients might confuse their medications and take the wrong one at the wrong time.
Preventing medication errors
While there is no way to eliminate all medication errors, there are steps that every person can take to try and prevent them. Patients can be thorough and honest when informing the medical staff of their medication history. Asking questions and reading instructions will also be crucial.
Medical professionals can prevent errors by being thorough and confirming the name, dosage and administration methods every time they use or prescribe a drug. Clear note-taking and avoiding confusing abbreviations can also minimize the occurrence of errors.
Should a mistake occur, it can be crucial to figure out why it happened and who might be too liable. Not only can this prevent similar errors from happening again, it can also help patients and medical workers understand legal remedies that may be available.