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Errors in medication

According to a new study it was observed that nearly one out of every five medication doses delivered in hospitals and nursing homes may be in error. The problem occurs regardless of whether the facility has been accredited// by the nation's leading health care accrediting organization or not.

The Institute of Medicine released a report titled, "To Err is Human: Building a Safer Heath System," which drew attention to the growing problem of medication errors in the nation's hospitals and other health care facilities. Many cited systems problems as the main cause of these errors. These researchers, from Auburn University and elsewhere, looked at delivery and administration problems in 30 accredited and non accredited facilities in Georgia .

In each of the facilities, medication delivery and administration was assessed during a one- to four-day period on high volume nursing units. The investigators found nearly 25 percent of the doses were in error. The most common errors were: wrong time of delivery (36 percent), omission of needed dose (30 percent), wrong dose (18 percent), and unauthorized drug (8 percent). Seven percent of the errors held the potential to cause adverse drug events.

The researchers feel that this evidence of a high rate of medication errors in many of the institutions in the sample supports the implications of the Institute of Medicine report that the medication delivery and administration systems of the nation's hospitals and skilled nursing facilities have major systems problems.


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