Getting the Dosage Right

Pharmacists on medical rounds reduce medication errors by 51 percent

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FRIDAY, Nov. 8, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- Medication errors decrease by 51 percent when a clinical pharmacist is included on daily patient rounds in hospitals.

That startling finding comes from a study in the latest issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy.

The inclusion of a pharmacist on patient rounds also reduces the duration of medication errors, the study says.

In this study, a clinical pharmacist took part in daily patient rounds in an academic medical center for a month. The pharmacist investigated patient allergy information, monitored laboratory tests, and reviewed medication orders to ensure appropriate selection and dose.

In addition, the pharmacist reviewed drug indications, the medication administration record and patient age, weight and organ function.

At the same time, a team of reviewers examined patient medical charts for errors. The study found there were 46 medication errors in patients when the pharmacist was part of daily rounds and 94 errors in the control group where there was no pharmacist on daily rounds.

The study also found that when a pharmacist took part in daily rounds, medication errors persisted less than a day and with less than one dose of medication. In the control group, errors persisted for 2.4 days and with two doses of medication.

More information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more information about medication errors.

SOURCE: American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, news release, Nov. 5, 2002

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