Medical Transitions and Drug Errors

The numbers are downright scary-in 86% of medical transfers ie. patient transfer from one facility to another, medication errors occur. According to an industry source, “A study by Boockvar K., et. al. (Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:545-50) showed that at least one medication order was altered and out of that, 65% were caused by discontinuations, 19% were caused by dose changes, and 10% were caused by formulary substitutions.
That study also showed that half of adverse drug events (ADEs) attributed to medication changes were caused by discontinuations. A study from Wong JD, et. al. (Ann Pharmacother 2008;42:1373-9) showed that 30% of patients discharged from the hospital (to any location) have at least one medication discrepancy.”
Obviously, these are unacceptably high error rates, especially given this population’s already precarious state of health. This data demonstrates an urgent need to address this issue with iron clad systems and protocols, including communication protocols, that address the root causes of these errors.