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Hospital uses discharge order review system to try to prevent errors

Medication errors can cause patients to suffer a variety of harms. Such harms can have significant impacts on a patient's life. Thus, one hopes that all medical facilities make sure to take proper steps to ensure that their patients are not exposed to medication errors.

Recently, an article on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website reported on steps one hospital has taken to try to prevent medication errors. The hospital in question is a hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Reportedly, the hospital has pharmacists review patient discharge orders prior to patients being released from the hospital. Reportedly, the pharmacists look at the orders to see if the orders contain any medication-related mistakes (such as dosage instruction mistakes or omitted medications). According to the above-mentioned Star Tribune article, if pharmacists detect a medication-related mistake in a discharge order during these reviews, they then talk with the physician who wrote the discharge order which contained the mistake to fix the mistake.

It appears that these pharmacist reviews have, thus far, been quite effective in preventing medication errors. According to a study conducted by the hospital, nine months after the hospital began having pharmacists conduct the discharge order reviews, the discharge order-related medication error rate of the hospital had fallen to nearly 0 percent.

It will be interesting to see if the discharge order review system that the Minneapolis hospital has implemented will continue to show success in preventing medication errors. It will also be interesting to see if other hospitals will start implementing similar systems.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune,Health beat: A second set of eyes cuts errors at Maura Lerner, Jan. 5, 2012

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