Study Finds Bar Codes Helpful in Reducing Medication Errors

Medication errors are one of the most serious and easily preventable errors committed in hospitals around the country. According to the Institute of Medicine, medication errors result in 7,000 deaths, injure 1.5 million people and cost hospitals, insurance companies and providers over $3.5 billion annually.

From accidental overdoses to allergic reactions, errors in the transcription and distribution of medication can have serious and, in some cases, lethal consequences for patients. As a result, providers have long sought ways to improve patient safety. Reducing medication errors helps reduce costs and, ultimately, improves the level of care patients receive.

As questions about how to improve patient safety continue, a new study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) suggests that bar codes may be part of the answer. For the study, researchers at BWH compared patients who received medication through a bar code and electronic medication administration system and those who did not. By using the new system, transcription errors were eliminated and potential adverse events fell by 51 percent. Timing errors, which include getting the wrong dose at the wrong time, were reduced by 27 percent.

Nearly 6 million doses are issued at BWH annually and the researchers concluded that the new bar code system will prevent 90,000 serious medication errors every year.

Medication errors come in different forms, though transcription and dosage related errors are common. Poor handwriting by doctors has often been cited as the root cause for transcription errors. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, poor penmanship is responsible for 6 percent of all hospital medication errors. A study conducted in the 1970s found that nearly one-third of all physicians’ handwriting was illegible. More recent studies have cited an improvement, but still find a significant number of doctors have handwriting that is only marginally legible.

How To Legally Handle Medical Malpractice

Medical Malpractice

From our first days we are taught to trust those in the medical profession, and well we should! They have our best interests at heart. Medical doctors are important members of our communities who should be held in high regard and treated with respect and appreciation. Their medical knowledge and skill combined with their nurturing concern and humanitarian ideals are incredible benefits to all of us. Their commitment to health and wellness has given all of us a higher quality of life.

In the end, the fact remains that those in the medical profession are still mere mortals, and like all of us, they can make errors. They don’t do this on purpose, and their intention is Surely not to do us harm. But they are human beings who make mistakes, and the majority of the time those mistakes are the result of two factors which they have control over. If you have been harmed due to Malpractice remember it is important to have a Medical Malpractice Attorney on your side.

Why Malpractice Happens

The two leading factors contributing to medical malpractice are:

  • Having more patients than they can handle. In their quest to treat us, doctors sometimes attended to more patients than they can safely care for. Evidence of this is the time many of us spend in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or a suspicion that we are wasting the doctors valuable time in the exam room when we have concerns or seek more information. At hurried times like these doctors are no different than the rest of us and tend to overlook details and make mistakes even though they surely do not intend to.
  • Waiting too long to refer a patient to another doctor. Some doctors tend to wait too long before sending patients to other doctors who specializes in a particular type of medical treatment that the patient can benefit from. In some cases this delay can cause far more problems than it solves. Diseases progress and problems grow worse and occasionally spread to other parts of the body.

When these two factors are present to any degree, the greater the possibility of malpractice occurring. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional, due to action or non action, performs below industry standards of patient care and, as a result, the patient suffers harm.

What to do in the Event of Malpractice

If you believe this has happened to you, you need to stand up for your rights, address the i event and hold the medical professional responsible so the practice does not continue and harm is done to others. Your first step is to contact a medical malpractice attorney and share your story with them. Medical malpractice lawyers, with their keen understanding of medical procedures and standards, along with knowledge of your rights under the law as a patient can quickly determine whether you have a case that should be pursued. If it is, the medical malpractice lawyer will begin evaluating the facts and start planning a course of legal action.

A Medical Malpractice Attorney Will Help Determine If You Have a Case

Most medical malpractice lawyers do not charge for the first appointment which permits you to share your suspicions. They will also be straight to the point in telling you whether or not, in their professional opinion, you actually have a case worth pursuing. You would also be well advised to do an in initial consultation with several different medical malpractice lawyers. If the majority respond in a corresponding fashion you will have an excellent idea of how to proceed and you will also have a sense of who you feel most confident in working with.

Medical Malpractice Misconceptions

Studies have found that many cases of medical malpractice go unreported. Of those that do get reported, the plaintiffs are left with a less than satisfactory result. The primary reason for both of these findings is that a plethora of medical malpractice misconceptions exist in the psyche of the common American. Many of these myths hold victims back from filing a lawsuit or from revealing all of the necessary facts for a healthy settlement or judgment. Following are some of the most common malpractice misconceptions:

Misconception 1 – It is only necessary to prove negligence.

This is the leading misconception in malpractice suits. While negligence is a large part of the lawsuit, it is really only one of the four elements that must be proven in the case. The first element that must be proven is that the medical professional had a duty to treat you in the first place. Doctors and other healthcare workers do not necessarily have a duty to perform medical procedures in every case. Negligence is the second element. The third element of the case is injury. The negligence must result in an injury. Finally, the injury must have caused some type of damages, which can be physical, emotional or financial.

Misconception 2 – Only doctors can commit malpractice.

Many people believe malpractice only pertains to physicians or surgeons. This is completely untrue. Any medical professional charged with treating or caring for you can commit malpractice. This includes nurses, medical assistants, anesthesiologists and radiologists, amongst others.

Misconception 3 – Medical malpractice suits result in increased healthcare costs.

This is a misconception that is shared not only be patients, but by doctors and other healthcare practitioners alike. The truth of the matter is that studies have conclusively proven no link between higher rates of medical malpractice suits and higher medical costs. Victims of malpractice should never feel shamed or feel they are committing a sin against society for filing a malpractice suit.

Misconception 4 – Medical malpractice suits are frivolous.

Many people believe that malpractice suits are without merit. This is completely false. Because medical malpractice is much more difficult to prove than other types of personal injury cases, almost all cases that are accepted by an attorney are for legitimate damages that have been caused to a patient through negligence.

Misconception 5 – It is too expensive to sue for malpractice.

It is true that malpractice cases can be expensive. However, almost all medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis. This means that the patient has absolutely zero upfront medical costs. All costs and attorneys’ fees are paid out of the final judgment or settlement. This fact also goes back to support the truth of Misconception 4. Because attorneys are working on expensive malpractice suits on a contingency basis they can’t afford to accept frivolous suits

Expanding Your Comfort Zone – Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

One of the best things that horsemanship has taught me is how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Since I took up the study of horsemanship as an adult, I have found myself in many situations where I am not comfortable. These moments of discomfort have been anywhere from learning how to put on a halter to cinching up a saddle. From riding a mechanical bull to learning how to pick up a left lead on a canter. And, I have to say that I was pretty frightened the first time I swung a leg over the back of the first colt I started.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
 
In each one of these situations, I was either embarrassed, confused, frustrated, afraid, or a combination of all of them. But, I had intentionally stepped outside my comfort zone, even though it was often with an instructor offering me a little push. Before I started learning about horses, I had carved out a life in which I was pretty comfortable most of the time in my work, in my home life, in the way I played. But, since I was a complete novice when it came to horses, everything was new and every situation was outside my comfort zone.
 
As I accomplished new tasks and survived what seemed like scary situations, my comfort zone grew. I became more comfortable in, around, and on horses. I realized that the only way for me to grow was by pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
 
The best part is that I have grown to the point where I look for situations that put me outside my comfort zone. I want to learn more, and I know it requires that I put myself in uncomfortable situations. When I realize I am getting tense or afraid in a new situation, I find myself saying. “Cool. Let’s go. I know I am about to learn something.”
 
More than being comfortable with being uncomfortable, I find I like being in that zone, because I know the payoff will be worth it.