Articles Posted in Medication Errors

Taking-Pills-300x225Medication errors, in which patients take the wrong medication or the wrong dosage, send hundreds of thousands of people to US emergency rooms annually. New technology, however, could help reduce the risk of these potentially serious errors.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School recently analyzed the effect of new software on medical error rates. They studied the medical records of more than 800,000 persons, and analyzed the impact of the software that was specifically designed to minimize the risk of mistakes during the prescription process.

The software, developed by an Israeli company, utilizes an approach that aims to point out errors in the medication prescribing or administration. For example, a drug that is typically used in pregnant women, but has been prescribed for an elderly male, is an anomaly that would not typically be identified or pointed out. The software however, finds these mistakes and according to the researchers, provides a very innovative way to notify healthcare personnel of such errors before they have any chance of adversely affecting the patient.

pills-1885550_1920-300x225The results of a new study that specifically focused on registered nurses found that the most common types of drugs associated with medication errors by registered nurses, were cardiovascular drugs.

The study which is due to be published soon in the journal Applied Nursing Research, found that among the cardiovascular drugs analyzed in the study, most of the medication errors involved anticoagulants. While approximately 22.7% of medication errors involved cardiovascular drugs, 11.3% of those errors were associated with anticoagulants.

In the study, the researchers found antimicrobial drugs accounted for approximately 19.1% of the errors, while electrolytes accounted for about 11% of the errors, and both endocrine drugs and analgesics accounted for 8.8% of the errors recorded. Among the antimicrobial drugs, vancomycin was most susceptible to medical error, with an error rate of 6.1%. Among the cardiovascular drugs most susceptible to medication errors were heparin, warfarin, and enoxaparin.   

apothecary-437743_1280-300x200Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, which is a horrible fact. Fortunately, in the future, we may have scientists and researchers who are much better equipped to deal with this severe health care problem.

The country’s first PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety is currently being offered at North Western Medicine. The aim of the program is to prevent the more than 440,000 fatalities that involve medical errors every year. The first batch of students with a PhD in healthcare quality and patient safety graduated in 2016. A second batch is already participating in the program.

According to experts who were involved in the program, medical errors are a major problem plaguing the healthcare industry, and over the years, too few concrete steps have been taken to reduce the errors and their impact. This is a problem that requires expert minds. In it’s current for, the medical community is ill-equipped to deal with the magnitude of the problem.

Pill BoxMedication errors occur more often than you think, and many of these occur when you are in the safety and security of your own home.

Many of those errors occur because of miscommunication or lack of communication between doctors and patients. If you have not been adequately and correctly informed about dosage instructions and other specifics about the medication you are taking, you are much more likely to make errors. These errors could be serious, or even fatal.

Be smart and informed. Educating yourself is the first step to preventing injuries from medication errors. If you have been prescribed a medication, know what the medication is for. Ask the doctor the brand name of the medication as well as its generic name. Many doctors will expect or encourage such questions, but if your doctor seems brusque and uninterested in answering your questions, you may need to consider changing your doctor.

at symbol 083Social media has permeated every aspect of our life and has increased the speed at which information is disseminated.  News travels fast via social media, and it is exactly this lightning speed that could help hospitals and local health authorities identify medical or surgical errors in their midst. A new study published recently finds that the use of Twitter could actually help authorities collect significant data about medical errors occurring in their neighborhood, and also provide them the tools to help reduce the incidence of such errors in the future.

The study was published in the Journal of Patient Safety, and reports that investigators analyzed more than 1,000 tweets containing certain key phrases related to medical errors. Tweets including words like “doctor screwed up” were analyzed, and investigators found that 83% of the tweets clearly specified the type of medical error that occurred. About 23% of the tweets involved medication errors and diagnostic errors each, while 14% involved surgical errors.   90% of the tweets were posted by patients who suffered these errors.

In more than 50% of the cases, the tweets clearly expressed the frustration of the patient at the injury caused as a result of the error. More interestingly, in 6% of the cases, the patients clearly indicated in their tweets that they intended to file a medical malpractice claim to recover damages.

baby%20rattle.jpgFew are at a higher risk for medication errors than pediatric patients. Few patients are also at much higher risk of injury from such errors, than children. Medication errors involving children are far more common than we know.

One reason for this fact is that the most frequent factors affecting pediatric medication errors are unlike those the error rates involving adults. A recently published study in the journal Pediatrics furnished the following findings. Every year…
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downward%20trend.jpgNew statistics signify possible progress in reducing the number of reported hospital errors across the country. According to a recent government report, hospitals are actually making fewer errors than before, and over a three-year period actually saving tens of thousands of lives.

According to statistics for 2013 by the Department Of Health And Human Services, the national hospital error rate dropped by approximately 9% between 2012 and 2013. The statistics were also a continuation of slow but steady progress in reducing hospital errors. The rate in 2013 was 70% lower than the error rate in 2010.

As a result of those fewer errors, the report estimates that there were 800,000 fewer incidents of patient harm in 2013, compared to if the errors had remained at 2010 level. The statistics also indicate that more than 50,000 lives have been saved as a result of the hospital errors.

The report was based on an analysis by the Centers for Medicaid Services. The agency reviewed 18,000 to 30,000 medical records for the years 2011, 2012, and 2013. The chart review revealed some impressive statistics.
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pediatric%20medication%20errors.jpgMedication errors are some of the most frequent medical errors, and they can be even more devastating when they involve children. A new study finds that approximately every eight minutes, a child becomes the victim of a medication error in the United States.

The study conducted by scientists at the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus Ohio, found that as many as 700,000 children below the age of six were victims of medication errors in the decade between 2002 and 2012.

Most of those medication errors in the study have to do with the wrong dosage of medication, or wrong medication altogether. Thankfully, most of the errors were not life-threatening. In fact as many as 92% of the medical errors did not require additional medical treatment. Unfortunately, some of these errors did result in fatalities: Twenty-five children died because they were either given the wrong medication or too much or a medication which was ordered by a physician. In addition, approximately 1,900 children were treated in critical care in hospitals after receiving the wrong dosage or wrong medications.
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pillow%20talk.jpgYou don’t necessarily have to be sleep-deprived to fall asleep at the wheel causing an accident. If you are driving under the influence of some prescription medications, especially sleep medication or anti-depressants, you are just as likely to doze off while driving.

Sleep medications, antidepressants, hypertensives, and a range of other medications have known drowsiness-inducing properties. It’s not just prescription drugs that can increase accident risks. Even over-the-counter medications, like cough and cold medications come with a high risk of causing the kind of drowsiness that many motorists tend to ignore.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was lowering the recommended starting dose for a sleep medication, because of studies that find an increased risk of drowsiness and impaired driving several hours after taking the medication. According to the Food And Drug Administration, its studies indicate that motorists who take the popular drug Lunesta continued to experience the depressing effects of the drug for several hours after they take the medication. For instance, a motorist who takes the drug before going to sleep, is likely to feel the effects of the drug even when he driving the next morning. The study found that the drug remained in the person’s system for as many as eight hours after taking the drug.
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old%20hands.jpg Far too many senior patients are at risk of suffering injuries as a result of medical errors, including medication errors and errors in treatment. According to a disturbing new study, as many as one in five Medicare patients find themselves suffering medical injuries that are unrelated to their disease or medical condition.

The results of the research were published recently in the journal, Injury Prevention. According to the researchers, some of these errors included giving the wrong type of medications, allergic reactions to certain prescription drugs, or giving treatment that actually complicated existing diseases or medical problems. Overall, these medical injuries were not the result of any underlying disease or medical condition that the patients suffered. The injuries were due to inadequate or incorrect medical care. Moreover, most of these injuries occurred not in the hospital but during outpatient care.
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