In the past year Americans have watched the federal government bail out failing banks, and the lagging automobile industry. As the economic downturn progresses, the flow of government funds into the flagging commercial sector is likely to continue. The pharmacists’ lobby has added its name to a growing list of corporations seeking federal stimulus dollars. Recently, representatives from the American Pharmacists Association and similar organizations wrote a letter on behalf of America’s pharmacists to Congress. The letter sought federal stimulus money to help employ cutting edge health information technology (“Health IT”) in more pharmacies.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health IT can help reduce medical errors, improve health care quality, and reduce health care costs. In an earlier post, we noted how the use of technology reduced the number of medication errors in cancer outpatient clinics. The attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC recognize the important role technology will play in reducing the threat caused by prescription errors.
However, medication error attorneys believe that increased technology alone is not the solution to the widespread problem of prescription misfills. Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC urges Congress to, for example, require pharmacies to implement better training of their technicians, and to increase the number of pharmacists who staff busy pharmacies in order to reduce the number of prescriptions filled per pharmacist, per day. Additionally, Congress should better monitor and enforce the requirement that pharmacists review all prescriptions before they are dispensed.