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5 common reasons for prescription errors

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Medical Malpractice |

In the realm of healthcare, precision is important.

However, prescription errors remain a persistent challenge. They can lead to detrimental consequences for patients.

1. Illegible handwriting

One of the most prevalent reasons behind prescription errors is illegible handwriting. Physicians may scribble a prescription hastily. This makes it challenging for pharmacists to decipher the intended medication and dosage. A misinterpretation can result in the dispensing of the wrong medication or an incorrect dosage.

2. Similar-sounding medications

The pharmaceutical landscape is replete with medications whose names sound remarkably similar. This inherent naming similarity increases the likelihood of prescription errors. That only increases when healthcare professionals are under time constraints.

3. Inadequate patient information

Insufficient patient information can also contribute to prescription errors. Healthcare providers may overlook important details about a patient. This may include medical history, allergies, or existing medications. Prescribers need a comprehensive understanding of a patient’s health profile. Without it, they may inadvertently prescribe medications that could interact negatively with existing treatments or exacerbate underlying health conditions.

4. Lack of communication among healthcare providers

Effective communication is a necessity in ensuring accurate prescriptions. The healthcare system can be complex. Inadequate communication among healthcare providers, such as physicians, pharmacists and nurses, can result in misunderstandings or missed details. That miscommunication can be detrimental to a patient.

5. Fatigue and stress

Healthcare professionals often work long hours. The demanding nature of their jobs can lead to fatigue and stress. These factors can compromise cognitive functions, increasing the likelihood of oversight and errors.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration receives approximately 100,000 reports of medication errors every year. For those affected, it could mean long-term consequences.

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