Furr & Henshaw
Myrtle Beach
Making You Whole Again

Medication Errors Archives

The value of follow-up calls by pharmacists

Pharmacists often review prescriptions with patients in South Carolina and elsewhere over the telephone in an effort to reduce medication errors, but some wonder if they actually help. The efforts really don't assist those who may need more care, according to a recently-published study. The author of the study, an associate professor of pharmacy practice, stated that the results showed that people who are considered low-risk benefit the most from the phone check-ups by pharmacists.

Painkiller prescriptions increase for VA patients

South Carolina residents may be interested in new data from the Department of Veterans Affairs that shows a dramatic increase in the prescribing of opiates to injured and suffering troops. According to the data, prescriptions of opiates to VA patients have increased by 270 percent since Sept. 11, 2001. The four main opiates being prescribed are hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone and morphine.

Problems with digital medical records

Many South Carolina hospitals have now switched to digital records in an effort to improve patient care, but digitized medical records can also cause problems. While digital medical records are supposed to eliminate errors related to doctors' handwriting and make access to patient histories easier, faulty information and network problems can put patients at risk. Issues related to digital records are also increasing: The number of medical errors caused by digital records doubled between 2010 and 2011, according to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.

Common causes of medication errors

In an effort to understand the root causes of medication errors made in hospitals in South Carolina and nationwide, the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority spearheaded a study that was published recently. In the study, researchers looked at both common causes of medication errors and ways that hospitals can eliminate these types of mistakes. The study considered medication errors to include giving patients the wrong drug, the wrong dosage or administering drugs to the wrong patient.

Drug shortages can lead to dosage errors

A drug shortage that led to dosage errors has been used as an example to help hospitals in South Carolina and other states determine how these mistakes occurred and to help prevent these types of errors in the future. At the end of 2010, the drug potassium acetate in the dosage of 2 mEq/mL was in short supply. To ensure that this drug was still available to patients, MedStar Health acquired 4 mEq/mL dosages of the drug. However, the dosage difference was not entered into hospital computers, and patients taking the drug received the wrong dosage.

7 percent of medication errors are caused by blood thinners

The Annals of Pharmacotherapy has published new research that has found blood thinners are a reason about seven percent of hospital patients suffer from medication errors. The main reason for the use of blood thinners in all South Carolina hospitals is to prevent the formation of blood clots that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Blood thinners will allow blood in veins and arteries to flow without blockage.

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Furr & Henshaw
1900 Oak Street
PO Box 2909
Myrtle Beach, SC 29578

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