One of the most under recognized – but deadly – issues for patients could be significantly curtailed if healthcare professionals had current, relevant, and accessible information at their fingertips.
What would providers do if a disease outbreak were killing 2,000 patients a week? They’d undoubtedly mobilize to address the epidemic. But there’s a different kind of epidemic spreading – one that’s rooted in unsafe medication practices and medication errors, which are a leading cause of patient injury and avoidable harm in healthcare systems across the world.
Globally, the annual cost associated with medication errors has been estimated at $42 billion, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States alone, medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure about 1.3 million people annually.
Throughout the treatment process – from prescribing to dispensing, to administration, to counselling or educating patients – lurks the potential for mistakes that can undermine the effectiveness of a therapy and negatively affect patient safety.
With the average patient in a skilled nursing facility over age 65 taking an average of 14 medications per year, according to the American Society of Consulting Pharmacists, the opportunity for adverse drug events and side effects is great.
Medication errors have a devastating impact on patients, but they also affect healthcare professionals, whose focus is on alleviating patient suffering. For healthcare organizations, the financial consequences can be harmful, resulting in additional costs to correct medication problems.