When patients receive prescriptions from medical staff, they expect the medication to be beneficial to their health and wellness. And while this is true in many cases, medication errors are an unfortunately common occurrence.
While the responsibility to prevent errors is ultimately on doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare staff, informed patients are better equipped to identify possible issues. This guide explains a few key factors to ensure good treatment.
Common causes of medication errors
Prescription drug errors can occur in numerous settings and have a variety of causes. Some common issues include incorrect doses, problems distributing drugs, misdiagnosis of medical conditions, poor communication, and a failure to educate patients on the drugs they take. Illegibility in handwritten prescriptions is another increasingly common factor in medication errors, which can prevent pharmacists from providing the correct drug.
How medical staff can prevent common errors
Emerging technology can effectively reduce medication errors in many instances. For example, the use of bar codes on medicine allows staff to scan items and access essential information before providing the drug to a patient. In addition to checking things like the drug type and dosage, bar codes can also alert doctors and pharmacists to recalls or potential drug interactions.
Hospitals and pharmacies should also enact their own quality control process to avoid issues. Convenient messaging between staff members allows them to ask questions and seek clarification if a prescription raises red flags. This is very beneficial when it comes to drugs with similar-sounding names, which can easily get confused.
If you have a question about a prescription or its effects, do not hesitate to ask medical staff to provide clarification. Being involved in your medical care is a must to take greater control over your wellness.