AHA Calls for New Strategies to Cut Medication Errors

Report says key changes are needed to reduce errors in patients with acute cardiovascular disease, stroke
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- New strategies are needed to reduce medication errors in acute cardiovascular and stroke patients, according to an American Heart Association scientific statement published online March 22 in Circulation.

Andrew D. Michaels, M.D., of the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, and colleagues cite statistics showing that an average of one medication error occurs per hospitalized patient per day, and that one-quarter of all medication-related injuries are preventable. They address common and serious medication errors in acute cardiovascular medicine, with an emphasis on strategies to reduce medication error frequency and consequence, and provide a classification of recommendations and a level of evidence to each recommendation.

The authors recommend significant changes in oversight, regulation and payment. They say these changes are needed to improve medication error reporting, develop minimum functionality standards for error-prevention technologies, and enhance the education of health care professionals in safe medication management.

"To reduce the frequency and clinical impact of medication errors, the medical community must work collectively with The Joint Commission, the National Quality Forum, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Leapfrog Group, and all major payers, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to engage patients and caregivers in becoming active partners in safe medication practices, improve and standardize error-detection rates, and implement safer methods to prescribe, dispense, and track medications," the authors conclude.

Several authors reported financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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