Prescription Errors Cause for Concern
> 7/20/2006 3:51:34 PM

Tagging along with our post from earlier today, there comes more news on prescription medications to stir concern, this time from the Washington Post. The WaPo story comes from a new Institute of Medicine report that was published today entitled Preventing Medication Errors: Quality Chasm Series. The story reads:

Following up on its influential 2000 report on medical errors of all kinds, the Institute, a branch of the National Academies, undertook the most extensive study ever of medication errors at the request of Congress when it passed the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003.

The report found errors to be not only harmful and widespread, but very costly as well. The extra medical costs of treating drug-related injuries occurring only in hospitals was estimated conservatively to be $3.5 billion a year.

Clearly, this is an issue that needs to be given more attention. We've spent a great deal of time covering issues such as prescription abuse and over-prescription, but this is a new one. Streamlining the prescription process through the use of technology should help erase some mistakes. It is imperative that health care providers are clear with their directions when communicating with patients. Likewise, it is on the patient to make sure that those instructions are followed through with.

As the WaPo story mentions, the FDA has its part to play as well in making sure that drugs are adequately tested and proven secure before they are being put into use. An upcoming study from the Institute sounds as if it will address these concerns more directly.

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