Although we look to doctors and pharmacists for help with our health, we need to be aware that medication mistakes occur frequently that can harm us. For this reason, the medication process is constantly being evaluated to determine how medication safety can improve.
Dr. Michael R. Cohen, RPh, MS, ScD, the president of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) uses “Ten Key Elements” of the medication-use system to evaluate pharmacy processes in an effort to reduce pharmacy malpractice.
What Are the Ten Key Elements?
- Patient information – Having a patient’s correct, age, weight, and allergy information at the time of prescribing, dispensing, and administration will minimize medication mistakes.
- Drug information – The drug information should be accurate and up-to-date and provided to all healthcare practitioners involved in the medication process to reduce adverse drug events.
- Communication of drug information – Drug information should always be verified to minimize the amount of medication errors caused by miscommunication between physicians, pharmacists, and nurses.
- Drug labeling, packaging, and nomenclature – Drugs that look-alike, sound-alike, or have the similar packaging can increase pharmacy errors, which is why drugs need proper labeling and the use of unit dose systems within hospitals to reduce such errors.
- Drug storage, standardization, and distribution – Drug administration times and drug concentrations should be standardized to reduce the risk of medication mistakes.
- Drug device acquisition, use, and monitoring – Device-related errors like setting the rate incorrectly or selecting the wrong medication or drug concentration leads to patient harm, which is why double-checks should be used with devices.
- Environmental factors – Many factors such as noise, too much work, interruptions, and poor lighting contribute to medication errors. Having a well-designed system can help prevent errors.
- Staff competency and education – Making sure staff are educated on new medications, procedures, and protocols can help reduce medication errors.
- Patient education – Patients should receive education from doctors and pharmacists about their medications, and patients should ask questions to help prevent pharmacy errors from occurring.
- Quality processes and risk management – Redesigning processes and systems that led to errors need to be redesigned to prevent errors.
When any of the aforementioned things go wrong, patients can suffer. If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about your potential pharmacy malpractice lawsuit, call Kennedy Hodges at 888-526-7616 for a free consultation today to find out more.