Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

High-Alert Meds Tied to Errors

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

High-Alert Meds Tied to Errors

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Five "high-alert" medications--insulin, morphine, potassium chloride, heparin, and warfarin--were associated with the highest number of medical errors in 2002, according to the U.S. Pharmacopeia's latest MedMARx report.

"High-alert" medications are either products that have a narrow therapeutic range or those that have been shown to be harmful to patients when misused.

MedMARx is a national, anonymous, and voluntary reporting database.

The database is used by U.S. hospitals and health systems to track medication errors.

The fourth annual MedMARx report--based on more than 192,000 medication error records from 482 facilities across the country--was released during a teleconference sponsored by the U.S. Pharmacopeia.

Overall, 98.3% of errors reported did not cause harm to patients.

About 15% of MedMARx records in 2002 were reports of "potential" errors--mistakes that were averted by health care providers before reaching the patient.

Reporting in this near-miss category increased by about 45% over 2001 reports.

The positive change in the near-miss category could mean that health care providers are getting better at identifying and documenting situations that could lead to errors, according to the report. …

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