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New systems try to diminish prescription medication errors

| Jul 1, 2015 | Anesthesia & Medication Errors

For patients in Newton, and across the entire country, medication is often an imperative part of their medical treatment. There is a certain amount of trust that is placed into the hands of medical professionals that they will dispense the correct medications in its proper amounts. While the vast majority of patients are treated with care and need not worry about a dosage mistake or some other gaffe occurring, they still happen.

Since prescription medication errors do occur and often lead to a patient becoming suffering serious injury or even dying after a fatal medication error, there are steps in place to try and find ways to improve patient safety. One is the ACO six-step scoring system. This is a program that the Accountable Care Organization is using to identify and improve safety practices. It focused on six concerns with medication, found 10,000 possible adverse drug events and stopped an estimated 80 percent of them. This is functioning as a map for medical professionals and facilities to use for better safety.

The idea behind ACOs is to lower the cost of healthcare as the manner in which health is provided in the United States as changes are being implemented. Making certain that medication errors are minimized and thereby lowering the costs associated with errors is part of that. The study was based in Wisconsin with an alert program. Certain patients who needed extra warnings because of various drugs and their dangers were identified. If an alert came up, the six-step scoring system looked at such factors as clinical testing, number of patients, how severe the adverse effects could be, danger of a legal filing, potential alternatives and decision as to whether there needed to be an alert across the entire system. This new technology can be adapted as needed across the country and provide information to medical professionals and pharmacists.

Given that there is so prominent an attempt to improve the safety of patients when they are receiving medication, it is clear that there are mistakes that can happen to compromise patient safety. While new safety initiatives such as the ACO system are being innovated, there will still be errors made as there were in the tests. Those who have been harmed or lost a loved one due to suspected prescription medication errors should speak to a legal professional experienced in pursuing cases for these problems.

Source:, “ACO’s Six-Step Scoring System Improves Medication Safety,” Dan Cook, April 22, 2015


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