Reducing the Margins of Medication Error
The number of people treated in U.S. hospitals for illnesses and injuries from taking medicines jumped 52 percent between 2004 and 2008 from 1.2 million to 1.9 million, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. These medication side effects and injuries resulted from taking or being given the wrong medicine or dosage.
Additionally, the top five categories of medicines that resulted in ER visits were first, unspecified, followed by pain killers, antibiotics, tranquilizers and antidepressants, corticosteroids and other hormones.
For patients admitted to the hospital, the top five categories causing side effects and injuries were corticosteroids painkillers, blood-thinners, drugs to treat cancer and immune system disorders, and heart and blood pressure medicines.
A physician with 2,000 – 3,000 patients on his roster can’t possibly make time to follow each person comprehensively. When a patient has a question and can’t reach his or her physician, the natural inclination is to “guess” about a medication or its dosage. Sometimes a patient needs a medication adjustment, but can’t get in to see the doctor. Mistakes happen, no question, but patients in concierge medicine or personalized medicine models like SignatureMD are less likely to be the victims of a medication error.