Magazine article Drug Topics

More Hospitals Move KCI Concentrate out of Harm's Way

Magazine article Drug Topics

More Hospitals Move KCI Concentrate out of Harm's Way

Article excerpt

Responding to a drumbeat of reported medication errors that kill at least a dozen people every year, most U.S. hospitals have moved potassium chloride for injection concentrate into safer places, according to a new survey.

An estimated 75% of hospitals in the United States no longer store potassium chloride for injection concentrate (KCI) in most patient care areas, a survey by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) found. When a similar poll was conducted three years ago, only 43% of hospital respondents had moved their potassium chloride stores. Among hospitals that have shifted KCI, 87% did so because they had read or heard about the dangers of storing the concentrate in patient care areas. Another 8% made the move after a "near miss" or actual patient harm.

The survey results are "truly exciting," said Lucian Leape, M.D., of the Harvard School of Public Health. The goal of eliminating KCI from nursing units is "clearly within our grasp," he said. "This survey shows we can make a real difference when we combine our efforts to make health professionals aware of situations that can lead to tragic medication errors."

The downside of the ISMP survey results is that KCI is still being stored in some patient care areas, primarily in adult ICU and emergency departments. In fact, 41 % of the respondents keep KCI in adult ICUs, and 43% of them keep it close at hand in the emergency department. Many of those respondents said they keep the concentrate locked in a cabinet or automated dispensing unit. …

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