Medication Errors Reduced by Avoiding Interruptions

A California hospital program has found a new way to drastically reduce medication errors in hospital settings, and it has nothing to do with purchasing expensive technology. Healthcare officials UCSF implemented a program in which nurses who dispense medication were left uninterrupted while on rounds dispensing prescribed medications. The result was fascinating. The simple procedure reduced medication errors by 88% in 36 months.

“Medication errors make up the largest slice of the medical error pie,” said Julie Kliger, director of UCSF’s Integrated Nurse Leadership Program, which developed the medication errors’ program. “Improving these numbers is a huge benefit to patient safety and, secondarily, it reduces costs.” Read more:

Medication errors result in approximately 400,000 preventable injuries each year at an annual cost of $3.5 billion in additional medical costs.

The low-tech strategies implemented in the program included nurses wearing bright colored vests or establishing “quiet zones” in the hospitals that indicate a nurse is not to be disturbed while administering prescription drugs.