In order to significantly reduce the incidence of medication administration errors within healthcare settings, it is imperative to employ a detailed and systematic checklist. This checklist should include a multitude of steps, each rigorously designed to address specific areas prone to errors. Here, we share some of the useful insights on the checklist for avoiding medication administration errors :
- Patient verification
Patient safety begins with accurate patient identification. This is achieved through dual identification methods, typically involving the patient’s full name and date of birth. Such a system ensures that the right patient is receiving the correct treatment. Also, a comprehensive documentation of any known allergies or sensitivities the patient has is crucial. This step is vital in preventing adverse drug reactions and ensuring patient safety.
- Thorough prescription cross-checking
It is important for healthcare professionals to double-check details, such as prescription date, drug name, dosage, administration route, and frequency, to make sure they match the doctor’s prescription. If there are any differences between the prescription and the medication details, healthcare professionals must talk to the prescribing physician right away to clarify them. This teamwork not only ensures accuracy but also results in better patient care and outcomes.
- Strategic medication storage:
Regular inspections are necessary to identify and replace any expired medications. Also, segregating medications that require alertness is crucial to prevent mix-ups. This includes those with similar names or appearances. Such strategic storage practices play a pivotal role in reducing the likelihood of administering the incorrect medication.
- Verification protocols:
Implementing the 8 Rights checklist is a tried and tested method to minimise medication errors. For high-risk medications, the involvement of a second healthcare professional in the verification process is recommended for added safety. This dual-check system ensures a higher level of scrutiny and is especially crucial in high-stakes environments.
- Integration of electronic medication administration record (eMAR)
Integrating the eMAR system is increasingly becoming standard practice in the UK. By automating the process of tracking and documenting medication administration, it ensures that healthcare professionals have access to real-time, accurate information. This reduces the likelihood of administering incorrect dosages or medications. With eMAR, healthcare professionals won’t have problems such as hard-to-read notes or forgotten signatures anymore. It gives them alerts about medications in real-time, so they’re less likely to miss anything important. Also, because everything is recorded digitally and neatly, the staff will spend much less time checking and auditing medication records. This means more time for other important tasks and less worry about making mistakes on paper MAR sheets.
The integration of eMAR with electronic medical records (EMR) systems allows for a more holistic approach to patient care. These digital systems make healthcare tasks easier and make sure patient records are correct. This means healthcare workers can do their jobs better and faster, and patients get better care. With eMAR, healthcare workers can easily track what medications a patient needs, how much, and when. This helps prevent mistakes with medicines and makes sure patients get the right medicine at the right time. On the other hand, EMR systems let healthcare workers see all the important information about a patient, like their medical history, what they’re being treated for, and their treatment plans.