Reducing Medication Errors in the Hospital: What's the Best Way?

DECEMBER 06, 2017
Jennifer Barrett
Supporting the drivers that promote medication safety are key to reducing medication errors in the hospital setting, according to presentation held at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting.

Laura Mark, PharmD, who is with Allegheny Health Network (AHN), discussed this issue during a tech talk at the Baxter exhibition booth this week.  She said that health systems can work to reduce preventable errors by implementing medication safety programs that evaluate risk factors contributing to medication errors and developing control practices to mitigate them. 

Mark discussed her own health systems' efforts in reducing medication errors. She noted that AHN focused on rolling out an approach for medication management, integrating several multi-disciplinary methods.

She said the network conducted a medication safety summit, which was an all-day event with 120 participants that emphasized the importance of "saving lives by reducing medication errors." She said the system also did a "gallery walk" that discussed "what a world-class medication safety system" would look like at AHN. She said several themes emerged, including: leadership as the primary driver in building a culture of medication safety,  standardization, the availability of technology and resources that enable the support of patient medication safety, and finally, education and communication about the medication safety process.

Mark's presentation and other tech talks held this week highlighted several key medication management control points that can help to minimize errors.

To ensure dosing administration accuracy, bar-code technology and the use of ready-to-dose formulations, such as premixed IV products, can be effective. Other medication management tips discussed this week included an electronic health record systems for prescriptions, a well-developed IV Pump Library for administration, and computerized physician order entry (CPOE), and technology assisted workflow (TAWF) systems.




 

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