1st May 04:49
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reports that medication errors harm at
least 1.5 million patients every year. This figure includes drug errors
in hospitals, nursing homes, and among Medicare outpatients.
But it is a conservative estimate because it does not account for drug
errors in doctors offices or by patients themselves.
All told, there are more than 300,000 over-the-counter medications and
over 10,000 prescription drugs on the market, according to the IOM
study. It also points out that four of five U.S. adults take at least
one medication in any given week. It also notes that when all types of
errors are taken into account, a hospital patient can expect on average
to be subjected to more than one medication error each day;
The IOM study, titled Preventing Medication Errors, provides
recommendations for reforming the health-care system to prevent and
reduce medication errors, including electronic prescribing. The study is
online at http://www.iom.edu/CMS/3809/22526/35939.aspx.