Medication Error Prevention Steps

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Wisconsin patients and their health care practitioners should be aware of the ten strategies used to prevent the occurrence of medication errors. All medical providers should provide the five rights of medication administration, including properly transcribing, prescribing for the correct patient, ensuring the correct dosage, route and correct timing. Providers must also have a system in place to ensure medical reconciliation when transferring patients between institutions. Double and triple checking is also important when nurses are changing shifts. Chart flag processes can provide clarity during the checking process.

Having a doctor or nurse read back a prescription can reduce the likelihood of an incorrect prescription being processed. Name alerts can also help reduce medication errors when two patients have similar sounding names. When writing a prescription or label, it is best to include a zero before the decimal point to avoid ordering the wrong dose. Another important step in preventing medication error is to provide proper documentation in a legible format for all needed medication.

Medical professionals are required to properly store medication with attention to temperature requirements. Multidose vials should be labeled to ensure that they are never used beyond their expiration dates. Learning the institution’s policies and regulations helps health care providers deliver medication properly and prevents errors. Having drug guides available to employees at all time also helps ensure the proper administration procedures and answers questions about side effects and interactions.

Medical malpractice occurs when a health care provider’s negligent actions or omissions adversely affect a patient. Injured patients may want to seek appropriate compensation for their losses through a medical malpractice lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney who has experience with this type of litigation.