Sunday, March 29, 2009

New study pinpoints prescription error problems

From CTV News:
Every day, pharmacists find errors on physician prescriptions; most are corrected and quickly forgotten. Now a new study is counting those errors -- and the results are surprising.

Under a unique program, pharmacists in Nova Scotia are now tracking and reporting what they call "near hits" - those mistakes that patients never hear about but ones that -- had they not been caught -- could have sent the wrong medication or the wrong dose to a patient.

The ongoing study recruited 13 pharmacies across Nova Scotia, asking workers there to keep track of the errors and near-errors they encounter. They were then asked to report the errors anonymously using an online reporting tool.

In just eight months, the pharmacists at the 13 drug stores have reported 813 potential medication errors.

Dr. Neil MacKinnon, an associate professor at the College of Pharmacy at Dalhousie University, helped launch the study, called SafetyNET. He notes that all of the reported errors were caught in time and corrected before they got to the patient. ...more

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