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Study: medication errors most likely to occur at administration stage

Medication errors can cause patients to suffer great harms. Such harms can have significant impacts on a patient's life. Thus, one hopes that all hospitals and medical professionals take all proper steps to prevent medication errors.

Recently, a study was conducted looking at what stage of the medication process medication errors most often occur in.

The study was conducted by the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization. The study was conducted over a five-week period. Reportedly, during this period, the organizations which participated in this study reported medication errors that occurred. The study reportedly then looked at what phase of the medication process these errors occurred during.

The study reportedly found that the phase of the medication process in which the highest number of these medication errors occurred was the administration phase. Thus, this study appears to indicate that medication errors are most likely to occur during the administration stage.

Reportedly, the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization, in response to this study's findings, suggested some strategies for hospitals to help reduce medication errors during the administration phase of the medication process. These suggested strategies reportedly included limiting the number of concentrations for infusion solutions, using infusion pumps that have systems for reducing errors and standardizing infusion pumps within a facility.

It will be interesting to see how hospitals respond to this study's findings and whether they adopt the strategies suggested by the institute. It will also be interesting to see if any other studies are conducted on this topic and, if they are, what results such studies yield.

Source: Becker's Hospital Review, "Administration Errors Most Common Type of Error During Medication Process," Jaimie Oh, May 8, 2012

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