Medication errors are a significant problem in the healthcare industry, with the potential to cause harm or even death to patients. These errors can occur at any point in the medication process, from prescribing to administering to monitoring. In this blog post, we will explore the various types of medication errors, the causes of these errors, and the steps that can be taken to prevent them.
One of the most common types of medication errors is prescribing errors. These errors occur when a healthcare provider writes a prescription for the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or the wrong route of administration. Prescribing errors can also occur when a healthcare provider fails to consider potential drug interactions or contraindications. These types of errors are typically because the provider doesn't have all the information they need, and are unaware of other patient prescriptions.
These errors can have serious consequences, such as an allergic reaction or an overdose. For example, if a healthcare provider prescribes a medication that the patient is allergic to, the patient could experience a severe allergic reaction, which can lead to serious injury or death.
Another type of medication error is administration errors. These errors occur when a healthcare provider gives a patient the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or the wrong route of administration. Administration errors can also occur when a healthcare provider fails to properly monitor a patient's response to a medication. These errors can have serious consequences, such as an allergic reaction or an overdose. For example, if a healthcare provider administers a medication at the wrong time or in the wrong amount, it could lead to an overdose, which can be fatal. Again, this goes back to making sure all providers have the accurate data and ability to act upon it accordingly. When a drug is administered, it is important to inform the effects and schedule of such administration.
Medication errors can also occur during monitoring. These errors occur when a healthcare provider fails to properly monitor a patient's response to a medication, or when a healthcare provider fails to adjust the dosage of a medication based on the patient's response. This can lead to serious consequences, such as the development of drug-resistant infections or the worsening of the patient's condition. Medication adherence is an industry issue that has difficulty due to a large dependence upon patient and worker reporting.
The causes of medication errors are varied and complex. Some of the most common causes include poor communication among healthcare providers, lack of proper training, patient misinformation, and system failures. For example, if a patient or their provider does not communicate effectively with members of the healthcare team, this can lead to medication errors. This is pronounced when a patient has multiple health care providers (most seniors see five different specialists!) who are on different health care platforms. Additionally, if a healthcare provider is not properly trained on how to prescribe, administer, or monitor medication, this can also lead to medication errors. System failures can also contribute to medication errors, such as when computer systems do not work properly, or when there is a lack of proper protocols in place for administering medication.
To prevent medication errors, healthcare providers can take several steps. One of the most important steps is to improve communication among healthcare providers. Using a tool such as Scriptio allows all providers to see what the others are seeing, eliminating confusion to a patient’s health status.
Another important step in preventing medication errors is to implement proper protocols for administering medication. This can be done by creating a standardized process for prescribing, administering, and monitoring medication, as well as by ensuring that all healthcare providers understand and adhere to these protocols. When long term care facilities, hospitals, and offices are understaffed, mistakes are much more likely to be made and less likely to be reported. Additionally, healthcare providers can use computer systems to help prevent medication errors, such as by using a service such as Scriptio to report medication administration.
Finally, healthcare providers should have a system in place for reporting and analyzing medication errors. This can be done by creating a process for reporting medication errors, as well as by conducting regular reviews of medication errors in order to identify patterns and trends. By giving providers, administrators and patients the tools to analyze medication errors and prescriptions, Scriptio is giving the tools to reduce errors and save lives.