Congress Orders Study Done on E-Prescriptions
Prescription errors can happen anywhere. In fact, e-prescriptions are no less prone to errors than handwritten prescriptions. This is based on a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, which concluded that the error rates of e-prescriptions were no less than the amount of errors made using handwritten prescriptions.
This study disturbed Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) so much that she wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling for a study to be done on the high medication error rate in nursing homes, hospitals and other places where Health Information Technology (IT) is used. Going paperless was supposed to give doctors and patients better access to better health care, but the error rate in the administration, use and prescribing of medications has not changed.
Where prescription errors take place:
A prescription drug error can occur and any point between the doctor and the pharmacist. These mistakes can occur, for example, in the following points of communication:
- Errors in transcription at the nursing home, hospital or doctor's office by the nurse or medical assistant,
- Errors in transcription or interpretation at the pharmacy because the pharmacy tech doesn't understand medical abbreviations and jargon
- Techs mistype the instructions into the pharmacy's system
- Pharmacists puts the wrong label on a bottle
Congressional study reveals 20% of drugs administered involve some mistake
Patients in hospitals and nursing homes are given the wrong medication one of every five times they receive a dose of medicine. That's a 20% error rate! Add to this the fact that one patient can receive up to 18 doses of medication in a single day, and you have a recipe for disaster. It's not only pharmacies that make these mistakes. Errors can happen when
- the doctor types in the script,
- when the medical assistant or nurse transcribes the script,
- when it is transcribed into the pharmacy's IT system, or
- when it is physically filled in the pharmacy of the hospital, institution or a chain pharmacy.
You do have rights, and one of those is the right to sue pharmacies, hospitals and other institutions for injury and illness caused by medication mistakes. It's a shame that communication breaks down so quickly that we all have to worry about how safe our prescriptions are, and how safe our loved ones' prescriptions are. Communication breakdown along the chain of custody or delivery for a prescription is the single biggest cause of medication error. You don't have to suffer without being compensated for the damages caused by this type of malpractice. Call our experienced medication error attorneys toll-free at 888-526-7616 to find out how much your claim may be worth. You can also order our free book, "How to Make Pharmacies Pay For Injuries Caused by Medication Errors," to learn more abou taking action against pharmacies.
Know your rights, and exercise those rights. Only by speaking out can we change the system that is enabling these kinds of preventable errors.