The Dallas Morning News’ feature story today was about medication errors at U.S. hospitals. Here are a few excerpts from the article:
At least 1.5 million Americans are injured or killed every year by medication errors at a direct cost of billions of dollars, according to a report issued Thursday by the prestigious Institute of Medicine.
For hospitalized patients, the report said that on average one medication error per day is caused by confusion in drug names, wrong doses, failure to deliver drugs and a host of other problems.
The report is a follow-up to a 1999 report from the institute, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, that outlined all medical errors and said that as many as 98,000 people are killed each year as a result of medical errors – 7,000 as a result of medication errors.
The study laid out a series of recommendations for new procedures and research to minimize the risk of medication errors.
- It called for all prescriptions to be written electronically by 2010. Currently, fewer than one-fifth of prescriptions are written and transmitted electronically.
- It said the country should invest about $100 million annually in research into closing “an enormous knowledge deficit” about drug errors and called on the Food and Drug Administration to order improvements in the way drugs are named, packaged and labeled.
Each year, there are an estimated 400,000 preventable drug-related injuries in hospitals, costing at least $3.5 billion.
There are also 800,000 medication-related injuries in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and about 530,000 among Medicare recipients in outpatient clinics.