The FDA receives more than 100,000 reports every year that are associated with medication errors.
Each year, in the United States alone, 7,000 to 9,000 people die as a result of a medication error.
The estimated annual cost of drug-related morbidity and mortality resulting from non-optimized medication therapy was $528.4 billion, equivalent to 16% of total US health care expenditures in 2016.
A study by the Harvard University in 2017 showed that nearly 5,000,000 deaths occur in India annually due to medical errors triggered by lack of practical knowledge among the doctors and nurses to handle patients when brought to the hospital.
Prescribing errors account for almost 50% of medication errors. Systematic reviews suggest that prescribing errors can affect from 4.2 to 82% of prescriptions.
Error can arise from any step of prescribing such as the choice of drug, dose, route of administration and wrong frequency or duration of treatment. Inaccuracy in writing and poor legibility of handwriting or incomplete writing of a prescription can lead to misinterpretation, thus leading to errors in dispensing and administration.
Writing a prescription is an important mode of therapeutic intervention by the doctor for the patient. Prescription writing is a skill acquired through training. The quality of a prescription reflects the competence of a physician and his attitude towards rational prescribing.
Detection is the first crucial step in building safer systems and preventing errors. These errors can be detected by systematic analysis of prescriptions through a prescription audit. Audit was first used by Florence Nightingale in 1854 to prevent post surgical mortality.
Prescription audit is part of the holistic clinical audit which was defined in a paper Principles for Best Practice in Clinical Audit as “a quality improvement process that seeks to improve patient care and outcomes through systematic review of care against explicit criteria and the implementation of change”. US philosopher W. Edwards Deming, had characterized the audit framework as a sequence of events, the PDCA cycle (Plan-Do-Check-Act).
We at Pharmintel has a dedicated team of clinical pharmacologist and pharmacists to conduct prescription audit and provide insight to our clients which can be helpful to them for improving patient care and optimizing resources.
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