Hospital policy implicated in medication error by study

Patients have long scrutinized the reputation of Houston hospitals as a way to reduce the risk injury or worse due to various types of errors. One of the leading dangers for patients is unintended drug interaction resulting in worsened condition or even death. Many hospitals have adopted software to improve patient safety. The software has been effective at reducing errors, according to researchers, but patients may still benefit from checking quality ratings and other reputation scores.

Electronic health records software (EHR) allows any doctor that sees a patient to update their file with any prescription. EHR checks to see whether there is a potential drug interaction with other prescriptions. Depending on the manufacturer, the software may send a message to the doctor, place a stop on the prescription, or even suggest an alternative medicine. Theoretically, EHRs could dramatically improve patient safety and reduce liability in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Unfortunately, researchers discovered that the EHRs in use around the country are still missing over 30 percent of medication errors. One author suggested the software itself fails to prevent a third of these cases of prescription error. However, some hospitals received perfect scores for safety. A co-author stated that the reason for this could be found in the decision supports hospitals decided to use or ignore.

Hospitals often see the most vulnerable among us, and mistakes made there can have drastic consequences for Houston patients. Asking for advice from a primary-care physician and checking a hospital’s reputation online are important means of protecting yourself and your loved ones from medical errors. No precaution is perfect though, and patients may experience pain and suffering, lost wages, disability and other damages due to medication error. If such error is suspected, patients and their loved ones may benefit from pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit with the help of a licensed attorney.