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Reducing drug errors with pharmacist and patient intervention

Pharmacists are often the last line of defense when it comes to preventing possible medication mistakes that may adversely affect patients in Illinois. Yet dispensing errors could be responsible for just under 22 percent of medication oversights that may impact patients’ health, according to results from one study. This doesn’t mean pharmacists don’t actively try to protect patients as much as possible. However, patients can be equally proactive when it comes to reducing pharmacy-related mistakes.

In addition to using software to manage patient prescriptions and detect or predict possible allergic reactions, pharmacists make an effort to minimize medication errors by manually verifying orders before they’re picked up. Pharmacists are also required to match medications with corresponding images in their databases. Plus, drugs with a similar appearance or name are stored on different shelves to reduce errors in busy pharmacies.

There are some steps patients are often advised to take for added peace of mind. For instance, confirming important details, like their full names, addresses, and dates of birth may prevent people from picking up the wrong prescriptions. Even though all medications are cross-referenced in pharmacy databases to prevent drug interactions and dangerous side effects, individuals are encouraged to report over-the-counter medications they may be taking along with changes to their current health status to improve the accuracy of computer system safeguards. Thorough answers to specific questions about dosage instructions and other directions and assistance with the interpretation of common regional languages can also be provided at most pharmacies.

Not all instances of pharmacist or doctor error result in serious long-term harm to patients. Even so, other instances of medication oversights can be life-threatening or even fatal. An attorney can provide representation to clients involved with many types of prescription drug error cases, including ones involving the wrong dosage, mislabeling issues or the failure to catch interaction risks. Anyone involved with the prescription process may be held liable. This list includes doctors and nurses, pharmacy departments at hospitals, independent pharmacies or individual pharmacists and possibly the pharmaceutical manufacturer under certain circumstances.