Monitoring medications reduces medical errors in children

As every Joplin parent knows, you’re going to worry whenever you
take your child to a hospital. A parent worries about the illness or injury
their child has, how painful the condition might be, how long recovery
might take, and a host of other concerns. Parents might worry even more
if they knew that a recent study at a prominent children’s hospital
showed that
medication errors affect nearly 6 patients out of 1,000.

The good news is that the study was of a new record-keeping system at the
hospital, designed to help reduce the potentially harmful mistakes. After
the system was implemented, hospital staff reduced the medication error
rate by more than half, according to a study presented yesterday at the
Pediatric Academies Societies annual meeting.

The study was conducted at Boston Children’s Hospital, led by an
instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. The focus was on reducing
medication errors caused by lapses in communication and lack of information
when patients are admitted to the hospital.

A team of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and information technology specialists
tested, implemented and trained clinicians in use of an electronic tool
enabling the review of a child’s entire medication history up to
the point at which they’re admitted.

After the tool was put in place and clinicians began using it, along with
a voluntary error reporting mechanism, researchers began examining the
number of medication errors before the tool was implemented and after
implementation.

What they found was that the error rate dropped from 5.9 errors per 1,000
admissions to 2.5 mistakes per 1,000 admissions. The hospital noted that
most errors didn’t harm patients, but that 1 percent of those who
experienced medication mistakes required intervention or additional monitoring.

For those harmed by medication errors, a conversation with an experienced
medical malpractice attorney is the first step in putting legal options in motion.

Source: News Medical,
“Electronic system in hospital helps reduce medication errors in children,” May 6, 2014

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