Reducing Medication Error Injury by Keeping Health Record Journals

Our Prince George’s County, Maryland pharmacy error lawyer blog recently reported on the important role communication plays between patients and their healthcare providers—in order to reduce the risk of medication errors or pharmacy misfills, and to promote the safe and effective use of drug therapy.

Every year, 1.5 million Americans experience medication-related injuries, according to a study by the Institute of Medicine. In order to prevent medication errors, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) reports that it is important for patients to keep accurate health records with them when visiting the doctor and pharmacist, including current prescription medication lists detailing the dosage information along with all health conditions that the medication is treating.

Patient medication lists can reduce the risk of pharmacy misfills, incorrect dosages, medication duplication, allergy interaction, and any harmful side effects from potential dangerous drug interactions. The APhA also states that by keeping drug lists with them at all times, patients can prevent medical error by providing emergency staff and hospital pharmacists with important information that could saves lives in an emergency.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune article, doctors are now recommending that individuals turn the medication lists into a comprehensive health journal, to keep healthcare providers informed and to prevent medication error injury.

The article recommends keeping a detailed journal by:
• Including major injuries or illness, any chronic disease, hospitalization, surgeries, immunizations, allergic reactions, recent health screenings, and blood types.
• Listing all names and dosages of medications and supplements, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements and any vitamins. The names of the medications should be checked for spelling so there is no confusion with similar sounding drugs.
• Remembering the exact dates of medical events, the dates of admissions and discharges with any hospital stays, and the names of all new prescriptions.
• Researching the family’s health history in regard to diseases and causes of death for parents, aunts and uncles, sisters or brothers, or grandparents–so doctors can see if there is a genetic component to any medical event.
• Recording all symptoms, especially if there is a long-term or chronic health issue like pain or diabetes, and writing down blood sugar levels or pain readings according to what was happening at the time—so doctors can find possible correlations between lifestyle and medication issues and perhaps recommend changes.

• Keeping the journal at hand at all times, especially when visiting the doctor or pharmacist, and updating the journal when there are new medications or health symptoms and medical events.

The APhA reports that while many Americans keep updates lists of medications, only 28% of patients actually carry the list with them—an act that could medication error injury by providing emergency staff with lifesaving information regarding medication names and dosages, drug interactions and side effects, allergies, and other important health issue information that could help prevent medical error.

In Baltimore, Maryland and the Washington D.C.-area, contact our pharmacy error injury lawyers today, at Lebowitz and Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers.

It’s time to make a useful journal of your health, Chicago Tribune, August 10, 2011
American Pharmacists Association: APhA, American Pharmacists Month 2009

Related Web Resources:

Institute of Medicine (IOM)

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Medication Error Reports

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (ISMP)

Related Blog Posts:

New Palm-Vein Scanning Technology Introduced to Reduce Medical Errors in Hospitals, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, August 22, 2011
Keeping Accurate Health Records and Medication Lists Can Prevent Medical Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, February 8, 2011
Study Shows Barcode eMAR Technology Can Help Reduce Medication Errors, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, November 3, 2010
Medication Error Reduced By “Scanning” Patients for Electronic Records, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2010
Medication Error Injury Prevention—Study Recommends Knowing Your Pharmacist, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, October 26, 2009
Maryland Medication Error Prevention Checklist, Pharmacy Error Injury Lawyer Blog, March 11, 2009

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