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Is technology reducing medication errors?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2019 | Medical Malpractice

As a society, we generally believe technology makes our lives easier. Technology can simplify our lives by allowing use to accomplish more in less time, reduce physical storage space, and more. While technology has its benefits, there are still downsides.

Studies show that electronic health records are a factor in dozens of cases each year. While this may seem scarce, these health records errors lead to problems like medication errors. Medication errors kill one person every day in the United States and injure more than one-million people. The health care industry spends over $40 million each year on medication error costs.

Unfortunately, technology is often only as good as the person using it as many medication errors involving electronic health records are preventable.

One patient visited their doctor for a solution to her allergies and the doctor prescribed a nasal spray. She later visited the emergency room because a doctor accidentally gave her a prostate medication with a similar name to the allergy medicine they should have received. The prostate medication caused hypotension and required emergency attention.

The medication error was attributable to the doctor’s clerical error because they didn’t ensure that they selected the correct drug on the computer screen.

Prescription errors have high stakes

Mistakes happen but the consequences of medication errors are life-threatening sometimes. It’s a good idea to verify that you’re taking the right medication by double-checking the label before using it and asking your doctor or pharmacist that they’ve given you the correct drug.

While communication with your doctor is almost always a good thing, the onus is on your doctor to live up to their duty of care. Failing to do so by doing things like prescribing you the wrong medication can mean that you can receive compensation for any side effects you experience, missed work, and the resulting hospital bills.