How pharmacists can minimize prescribing errors

When pharmacists make mistakes, the results can be tragic. Everything from minor side effects to permanent disabilities and even death can occur.

Pharmacists, doctors, and patients alike want to limit the number of prescribing failures. The right preventative actions can reduce these circumstances. When they do occur, the result is often a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How pharmacists can reduce the number of prescribing errors

According to the Food and Drug Administration, Americans endure more than 100,000 medication errors per year. Pharmacists must follow specific procedures to help prevent these types of incidents.

To begin, they should put in place electronic prescribing and dispensing systems. Incorporating technology into the workflow is the best way to reduce human error. Programs can even trigger reviews when pharmacists fill medication requests for at-risk patients.

Allergies can be fatal. Prescription orders must include pertinent patient information on bottles and in files.

Pharmacists should always confirm the name of the drug and dosage instructions.

How patients can reduce the number of prescribing errors

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from prescription errors.

Ask your doctor about the prescription you are being given and why. Be aware of potential side effects and food interactions.

Examine the labels on medicine bottles every time you self-administer a dose. The risk of making a mistake increases with each medication you take.

Report suspected dispensing errors to industry watchdog organizations. This action alone can play an enormous role in reducing prescription mismanagement.

Pharmacists and patients must combine forces to reduce the menace of prescribing errors. Anything less is morally and legally unacceptable.