In the professional world of medicine, countless types of medication are used and administered on a daily basis. Medical professionals are trained to catch and prevent errors that could occur in prescribing, dispensing, and administering medications, but there’s always a possibility of mistakes. Medication errors are serious problems when they take place. Knowing helpful methods to prevent major medication mistakes can be the difference between life and death. Learn more here as we discuss ways to reduce medication errors.
Keep Medications Organized
Whether this is in a hospital or a pharmacy, it’s vital to keep medications organized and not to allow cluttering. Many medical environments constantly fast-paced, and they can become very chaotic. Using special shelving or basket systems to keep prescriptions and drugs separate can ensure professionals grab the correct medication.
Be Aware of Similar-Sounding Drugs
The Institute of Safe Medication Practices has created a list of all the drugs with similar names for medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. It’s important for them to remain informed on which drugs are the easiest to confuse. This makes it possible for professionals to quickly recognize the differences between certain medications. This list only continues to grow as more become available in generic forms.
Double-Check All Prescriptions
This is one of the easiest but most effective ways to reduce medication errors. Many times, people glance at labels, only reading them briefly. For medical professionals, it’s vital to always double-check medication labels and to read them completely. In pharmacies, it can be helpful for pharmacists to check each other. One person might be responsible for entering a count into the computer, but someone else might be pulling the prescription to be filled. This is also why medication labels are vital. Looking further into design tips for a safer medication label can be helpful.
Review and Verify Patients’ Current Medications
In any medical stetting, when a patient is being pulled up in the system, their previous history—including any current medications they’re on—should be readily available. Going through each medication with the patient is the best way to ensure everything in the system is up to date. If it’s a new patient, then the professional will need to take down every medication and dosage they’re on.