Medication errors common and significant

Medication errors are a common and significant problem, particularly when patients move between healthcare providers according to an article in the latest edition of Australian Prescriber.

 

Discrepancies are especially prevalent on hospital admission and discharge according to article authors Prof. Amanda Wheeler from Griffith University and colleagues.

 

“Those most at risk of medicines discrepancies include people with complex medication regimens, older people, those with mental health problems, people who are poor or have low literacy, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and migrant populations,” the authors state.

 

They add that accountability for medicines-related problems needs to lie mainly with health professionals as they manage and steer patients through different healthcare services.

 

“A patient-centred approach is a necessary shift towards reducing medication errors. The patient is the one ‘constant’ as they progress through GP and ancillary primary care services, hospital services, and specialist outpatient and private clinics. Patients and their carers need to be involved as active participants in this process.”

 

The authors argue that there is a place for emerging technologies to smooth communication between primary care and specialist or secondary services.

 

However, there needs to be commitment from each health professional to support this approach.

 

Read the full Australian Prescriber article https://www.nps.org.au/australian-prescriber/articles/reducing-medication-errors-at-transitions-of-care-is-everyone-s-business

 

1 June 2018.