It’s a very common scene in our homes that whenever we get ill, we always try to find a simple and easy type of solution for that illness by our bedside drawer of drugs. If we take an example like when we came back from our work, and it was a pretty hectic day and the warm weather, we usually get a headache, and we try to find a solution of it in a Diclofenac painkiller. But we don’t even know that it has attached with a lot of side effects (stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea etc).
Medication Error is the Second highest in terms of medical error occurrences. One of the studies proves that the 5% of all the hospital admissions are due to an adverse drug effect (ADR) and it is the 5th common cause of hospital deaths, these errors caused 197,000 deaths per year in only European countries.
Before going into the main arena of discussion which is, how can we be able to avoid the medication errors and what are the prevention measures we can take for our health and safety, we must have to know what are medication errors, its types and what are the most common and contagious medication errors we face in our daily life.
Medication errors refer to errors in processes of ordering, transcribing, dispensing, administering, or monitoring medications. Many medication errors are thought to have no or few consequences for the patient’s health but they might results in serious patient morbidity or mortality.
There are three types of errors which led the patient into a fatal condition and they are dispensing errors, administering errors and the prescription errors.
Dispensing Medication Error:
Dispensing errors occur at any stage of the dispensing process, from the receipt of the prescription in the pharmacy to the supply of a dispensed medicine to the patient. Dispensing errors occur at a rate of 1-24 % and include selection of the wrong strength or product. This occurs primarily with drugs that have a similar name or appearance.
Approaches to reduce dispensing medication errors:
Ensuring a safe dispensing procedure.
Separating drugs with a similar name or appearance.
Keeping interruptions in the dispensing procedure to a minimum and maintaining the workload of the pharmacist at a safe and manageable level.
Awareness of high risk drugs such as potassium chloride and cytotoxic agents.
Introducing safe systematic procedures for dispensing medicines in the pharmacy.
Administration Medication Errors:
Administration errors occur when a discrepancy occurs between the drug received by the patient and the drug therapy intended by the prescriber. Medication administration errors largely involve errors of omission where the drug is not administered for a variety of reasons. Other types of errors include an incorrect administration technique and the administration of incorrect or expired preparations.
Approaches to reduce medication administration errors:
Checking the patient’s identity.
Ensuring that dosage calculations are checked independently by another health care professional before the drug is administered.
Ensuring that the prescription, drug, and patient are in the same place in order that they may be checked against one another.
Ensuring the medication is given at the correct time.
Minimizing interruptions during drug rounds.
Prescription Medication Errors:
Medical prescriptions are also very important, when we talk about medication errors. Almost 70% medication errors are born due to the prescription errors.
Approaches to reduce prescription medication error:
Tell your doctor that, to avoid the use of abbreviations, the abbreviations have been found to be particularly dangerous because they have been consistently misunderstood.
Prescription order should include a brief notation of purpose (for example, for cough), this can further ensure that the proper medication is dispensed and creates an extra safety check in the process.
All prescriptions made by doctors or physicians must mention the patients age and weight on the medication order. The age and weight of a patient can help dispensing health care professionals in double-check of the appropriate drug and dose.
Medication orders must not include vague instructions such as “Take as directed” or “Take/Use as needed” as the sole direction of medication use. Clear directions are necessity for the dispenser to: check the proper dose for the patient and it also enables patient counseling probability.
The medication order must include drug name, exact metric weight, or concentration and dosage form. It helps the pharmacist to check either the information is missing or questionable.
As we all know the famous idiomatic sentence that “Prevention is better than cure”, is really an important factor when we are discussing issues like medication errors. Medication errors are one of the most preventable causes of patient injury. There are a number of factors at each step of the patient care process that contribute to the high rate of medication errors in the healthcare industry. Special focus should be given to the prescription and administration phases of patient care due to the large number of errors tracked back to those stages of treatment.