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Correct medication lists could reduce error risk

For patients in Florida, medication errors are among the most common yet dangerous medical mistakes committed by health care professionals. Incorrect prescriptions can lead to severe side effects or interactions with other medications, causing severe injuries or permanent harm. In some cases, these errors are at least partially caused by a lack of adequate information about a particular patient's medication history or current list of medicines. One group of researchers is advocating for more extensive training for technicians and assistants who work with doctors to gather patients' medical information.

Physician assistant student researchers at the University of Kentucky presented a paper arguing that a standardized regimen should be implemented to train technicians on medication reconciliation to make prescription mistakes less likely. Medication reconciliation is the method of obtaining and maintaining a complete and accurate list of medicines taken by a particular patient. These researchers aimed to improve the level of record-keeping and information development about patient prescriptions during each clinical visit. They examined the type of interviews that patients received and determined that nearly 15% were not asked about their medications or potential changes when arriving for a doctor's appointment.

In other cases, patients were only asked about specific medicines and not about all of their medications. Others noted that some technicians do not fully understand the electronic medical record system and so may not realize that they need to ask about other medicines that the patient might have forgotten to recall. The researchers argued that implementing a standard protocol with improved training would make it more likely that complete information could be obtained.

The consequences of a medical error can be significant and long-lasting, no matter the specific cause. A medical malpractice attorney can consult with an injured patient to determine the potential to seek compensation for their losses.

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