How pharmacists and patients can reduce medication errors

How pharmacists and patients can reduce medication errors

Patients in Pennsylvania often turn to pharmacists to get prescriptions filled or refiled or seek advice on over-the-counter medications or supplements. Pharmacists typically take precautions to reduce errors. However, it’s estimated that around 20 percent of pharmacist-related medication errors may be due to dispensing mistakes. Because pharmacists are the last line of defense when it comes to catching such oversights, there are many safeguards in place to protect patients. Still, there are additional steps patients may be able to take to further reduce the risk of medication errors.

Possible medical malpractice litigation may not be front and center on a pharmacist’s mind, but patient safety often is. Some precautions taken by diligent pharmacists include placing look-alike and sound-alike medications on different shelves. Pharmacists are also required to match the drugs being dispensed with the image in their database. But it can be equally helpful for patients to take some precautions, starting with ensuring that their name, age, address and other vital details are up to date at their local pharmacy.

Pharmacy software is designed to detect issues with medications that may trigger allergic reactions. Patients can provide an extra layer of protection against adverse reactions by letting their pharmacist know about any known or newly diagnosed allergies. Even though pharmacists have records to minimize interaction risks, patients should report any new medications they may be taking. Patients are also encouraged to provide updates on health-related conditions and ask questions.

If medication errors are the suspected cause of a patient’s adverse reaction, a lawyer may conduct an investigation. A medical malpractice attorney could also look at a pharmacy’s database information and how medications are usually stored and organized at a particular pharmacy. Any previous dispensing errors made by an individual pharmacist or other professionals at the same pharmacy may also be considered during the process of identifying potential negligent parties.



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