Why Reducing Prescription Errors Is Necessary
Regulated prescription medications have changed the face of medicine forever, where drugs are helping people live longer and healthier lives. Even though prescription drugs have done the world lots of good, the potential harm that can be caused through error, neglect or mistakes can be catastrophic. When pharmacists and health care providers do not follow protocols, procedures and regulations, any serious prescription error can cause the patient to suffer great injuries or death.
Prescription mistakes are one of the leading factors in patient harm. Many errors are the result of illegible handwriting, prescribing or dispensing the wrong dose, or inaccuracies and mistakes when the doctor chooses and orders treatments. Because of that, many organizations and medical advisors develop effective strategies for reducing prescription errors.
Healthcare managers, insurers, doctors and other caregivers are always looking for solutions to improve the safety and quality of health care. Prescription drugs have revolutionized the healthcare industry. However, prescription errors have produced a significant negative impact on the safety and well-being of patients. The human factors involved in prescribing and distributing medications are key to many of the problems with filling and dispensing helpful drugs.
Reducing Prescription Errors When Prescribing
Stopping an error from occurring in the first place is the easiest solution for reducing many of this mistakes that occur when prescribing or dispensing helpful drugs. This requires:
- Improving the training that doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers receive
- Testing their competency to ensure they understand what the drugs are used for, how they are dispensed
- Training on correct dosage of drugs for adults and children
- Comprehensive understanding of the adverse reactions when any drug is used in conjunction with other medications
Hospitals, medical facilities and pharmacies must incorporate individualized education through prescribing skills courses, clinical assessment and written exams. Understanding proper drug dosing can eliminate many of the prescription errors that occur at the time the script is being written. This can minimize the potential of a harmful outcome if the young patient takes the drug at too high or too low a dosage.
Reducing Prescription Mistakes after Prescribing
Many common drug errors occur when the prescription is being filled at pharmacies that are understaffed. Without adequate staffing, pharmacists and technicians can quickly become overworked and fatigued, and make crucial errors that can cost the health or life of the patient. Some mistakes after prescribing involve:
- Dispensing the drug without “double checking” to ensure that it is not harmful should it interact with other medications
- The container, vial or bottle has been mislabeled
- The prescription has been filled improperly
It is the duty of every pharmacist to perform specific tasks before the drug is dispensed to the consumer. These duties include identifying any prescription error prior to the drug reaching the patient by:
- Checking for any error on the prescription when it reaches the pharmacy and make all necessary contact with the doctor to clarify and amend any problem prior to filling the prescription
- Ensuring that the medication is filled in the right dosage, with the right drug at the correct amount
- Ensuring that the patient is not currently taking any other medication that would cause an adverse reaction to the medication being dispensed
- Ensuring that all pharmacy technicians receive adequate training to obtain customer information before dispensing the drug
- Providing valuable usage directions directly to the customer at the time the medication is being picked up
Dangerous errors are made when pharmacist and pharmacy technicians are tired, overworked and fatigued. Even though many pharmacies in Illinois are taking steps at reducing prescription errors, many mistakes still occur. When the drug errors happen to a young child, it is essential that the parents take legal steps to hold those responsible accountable for their reckless actions.
Filing a claim or lawsuit for recompense can ensure the family receives adequate funds to pay for medical bills and financial expenses associated with the injury caused by neglect. A skilled pharmacy error attorney can ensure that the family’s rights are protected when negotiating an out-of-court settlement or taking the case to trial. If you or a family member has suffered due to an injury made by a pharmacy, we invite you to contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers anytime for a free case review and consultation.