Selected research from leading health care experts whose findings have a direct bearing on public policies effecting medical progress. Research is chosen based on its quality and relevance by the Medical Progress Today editorial staff.

Selected Research

Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasm Series
Institute of Medicine, 7-21-06

A recently released report from the Institute of Medicine found that human error results in thousands of deaths each year from incorrectly prescribed medications. According to the report, hospital patients are likely to be given at least one incorrect prescription per day, an error that can cause serious injury or death.

The report suggests several different ways to prevent medication errors in the future, including increased doctor–patient communication. Technology also has the potential to reduce errors by standardizing drug and dosage administration throughout the healthcare process.

At least a quarter of all medication–related injuries are preventable. Many efficacious error prevention strategies are available especially for hospital care; examples are electronic prescribing and clinical decision–support systems that check dosages and monitor harmful drug interactions. This report provides guidance on how to implement error prevention strategies in hospitals, long–term care, and ambulatory care.

Establishing and maintaining a strong provider–patient partnership is a key approach for reducing medication errors. The report outlines how such a partnership can be achieved and what roles providers, patients and third parties must play. For example, consumers should maintain careful records of their medications, providers should review a patient's list of medications at each encounter and at times of transition between care settings (for example, hospital to outpatient care), and the federal government should seek ways to improve the quality of pharmacy leaflets and medication–related information on the Internet for consumers.

Project FDA.
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