We all know how important it is to follow directions. For example, when preparing a recipe, if you don’t have the correct label with the correct directions, the food you make may not turn out correctly. What if the measurements or ingredients are wrong on the label or recipe? The addition of the wrong ingredients may cause the food to be inedible. Although this example pales in comparison to a wrong medication label, the same concept could be applied. If the wrong medication was prepared for a patient, or if a patient received the wrong prescription at a pharmacy or hospital because of a labeling error, that patient may suffer unnecessarily.
Unfortunately, labeling mistakes at pharmacies and hospitals occur far too often. The sad fact is a medication error has occurred somewhere in this nation as you are reading this article. This is why National Patient Safety Week was held from March 3 to March 9, 2013, to bring attention to preventing medication mistakes that can cause injury or death. Patient Safety 7/365: 7 days of recognition, 365 days of commitment to safe care, was the theme this year to acknowledge that advancements in patient safety have been made but that challenges still remain. Healthcare workers are reminded to focus on patient safety every day.
How Medication Mistakes Can Be Reduced
When checks and balances aren’t in place or procedures aren’t followed, a patient may suffer from a medication error. National Patient Safety Week reminds all healthcare workers to double and triple check medicine they are giving a patient. Unfortunately humans make mistakes; it is important to recognize this in order to be more aware of medication errors.
Could there be a new era of patient safety taking shape? Many hospitals are turning to technology as a way to improve patient safety. For example, Safe Label System uses barcode technology to help prevent medication mistakes. It verifies a drug electronically and matches it against the pharmacy’s hospital-approved database to ensure that the drug is approved for use. The system then dilutes the drug accordingly and prints a label that includes warnings and messages about the drug that can be adhered to an IV bag or syringe. The system also allows the healthcare professional to visually see the information and audibly hear the drug name and concentration, which provides a double-check process.
Although this system may reduce risks of errors, not every hospital and pharmacy uses it. Because medication mistakes still occur, injured patients need to know their rights. Call Kennedy Hodges, L.L.P. at 888-526-7616 to speak with a nationwide medication error attorney during a free consultation and to request a FREE copy of our report, How to Make Pharmacies Pay for Injuries Caused by Medication Errors.