Monday, March 3, 2014

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors

20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors


Taking notes
One in seven Medicare patients in hospitals experience a medical error. But medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system: In hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and patients’ homes. Errors can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, or lab reports. They can happen during even the most routine tasks, such as when a hospital patient on a salt-free diet is given a high-salt meal.
Most errors result from problems created by today’s complex health care system. But errors also happen when doctors and patients have problems communicating. These tips tell what you can do to get safer care.
Here is a good one...
#5. Ask for information about your medicines in terms you can understand—both when your medicines are prescribed and when you get them:
  • What is the medicine for?
  • How am I supposed to take it and for how long?
  • What side effects are likely? What do I do if they occur?
  • Is this medicine safe to take with other medicines or dietary supplements I am taking?
  • What food, drink, or activities should I avoid while taking this medicine?
#12. If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done.
Having surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is 100 percent preventable. Surgeons are expected to sign their initials directly on the site to be operated on before the surgery.
Internet Citation:
20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors. Patient Fact Sheet. AHRQ Publication No. 11-0089, September 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. 

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