Thursday, June 13, 2013

Medication orders going to the wrong patients

According to an article published in Med City News, medical errors and the secondary problems they can cause are costing providers anywhere from $17 billion to $1 trillion.

A new study from the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority has shed light on what exactly is causing medication orders to get dispensed to the wrong patient. Apparently, 43 percent of these mistakes happen in administration. Other reasons for these errors include the mix-up of patients sharing a room, the wrong patient being chosen from an automated dispensing cabinet and protocol being ignored for identifying patients by relying on the patient or family to verify the patient’s identity.

Prescribing errors accounted for 12 percent of mistakes, such as healthcare workers ordering a medication on the wrong chart. About 38 percent of the medication errors stemmed from transcribing or transferring a paper medication order to an electronic or paper medication administration record.  

The study stressed that better engagement and computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE) are two critical ways to reduce those errors.

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