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New tactics to avoid Newton medication errors can still fail


Receiving medication for health issues, large or small, is often an afterthought for many people in the Newton area. People generally trust their doctors to dispense sound advice, an accurate diagnosis, and the correct medications. Unfortunately, prescription medication errors happen frequently and they can cause serious injury and even death. Although new safeguards based on technological advances are increasingly in place, a study has shown that medication errors still happen at an alarming rate.

More and more medical facilities are implementing systems designed to lower medication errors, but there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done to ensure that the errors don't continue happening. The system - known as computerized physician order entry (CPOE) - is being utilized in as many as 1,339 hospitals across the country. That is a rise of 248 percent from 2010. Nearly 60 percent using the system are entering three-quarters of their medication orders with it.

A vast proportion of medication errors, such as a dangerous combination of prescriptions, happen when orders are made manually or written and interpreted by the reader. The system is designed to eliminate this problem. Orders that could have been dangerous to the patient stayed the same at 36 percent, but the number of fatal errors reduced from 15.2 percent in 2013 to 13.9 percent in 2015. The dangers of incorrect doses, errors with drug allergies, and interactions are expensive and can be deadly.

Regardless of the improvement in providing proper medication to patients and avoidance of medication errors, there is still a significant risk that errors will happen. If there is a mistake, it could result in a longer stay in the hospital, long-term problems and even death. When belief patient thinks that a doctor or pharmacist made a mistake with medication and it led to damage, discussing the case with an attorney could pave the way for compensation.

Source: ajmc.com, "Technology to Prevent Medication Errors Still Fails Too Often, Study Finds," Laura Joszt, Accessed on April 21, 2015

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