Medication Errors

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Medication errors—prescribing, transcribing, dispensing, and administration errors—are associated with considerable patient morbidity and mortality. Despite the medical profession’s best efforts to provide safe and effective care, research has shown an alarming incidence of unintended harm to hospitalized patients. Some argue that the commonest cause of medication error is the lack of knowledge among healthcare professionals. Hospital computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are widely regarded as the technical solution to medication ordering errors, the largest identified source of preventable hospital medical error. Published studies report that CPOE reduces medication errors up to 81%. Yet research has shown the CPOE system has not solved the answer to this problem. Some facilities have found using two nurses to co-sign certain medications has helped to eliminate error.

There are many ideas and attempts to help decreased the number of medication errors. I feel nurses need to be continually educated on this topic and the importance in transcribing medication orders, patient identification, and medication dispensing. If it’s as simple as writing clearer to installing a new medication dispensing system, all healthcare providers need to work together. Patients’ lives are at risk and one small mistake can be deadly.

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