Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How to Reduce Medication Errors

Half of heart patients make medication errors within a month of being discharged from the hospital, according to a study conducted by Vanderbilt University Hospital in Tennessee and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, published earlier this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Of the 50 percent who made errors, nearly a quarter (23 percent) was considered to be serious errors, and 1.8 percent were deemed to be potentially life-threatening, U.S. News & World Report noted.

The study found even highly educated patients made serious medication errors, as did patients who were given guidance and individualized instructions by a pharmacist, according to MedPage Today. Patients who received a follow-up phone call from their physicians post-discharge didn't reduce the number of mistakes, the data showed. Despite intervention by pharmacists and medical staff, these frequent errors are cause for concern.

There needs to be better supervision and management of medications in patients, especially older patients.  New automated medication systems have ensured better compliance with medication administration with less errors.  The Lifeline Personal Medication Dispenser does just that, http://www.managemypills.com/content/Who_Needs_PMD

Seniors rely on their medications to keep them healthy, but complex medication schedules can lead to mistakes: missing doses, taking incorrect amounts, or taking medicines at the wrong times. These mistakes could lead to unnecessary doctor or hospital visits, illness and even death.
  • For seniors, approximately 1 out of 10 hospital admissions are the result of the incorrect use of medications.*
  • Not taking medications correctly can have serious consequences, including increased discomfort, inadequate disease prevention and possibly even death.**
  • Lifeline is the only service with a 98.6 % dispensing adherence, among monitored subscribers. 
For more information about the Lifeline Personal Medication Dispensing system contact Family Caregivers Network.

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