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DATE 2006-07-01

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Key: Value:

Key: Value:

MESSAGE
DATE 2006-07-20
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Medication Errors Report
Drug Errors Common, Report Says
Jul 20, 07:40 PM

PHILADELPHIA _ From simple mix-ups to fatal overdoses, hospital patients
on average fall victim to a medication mistake every single day, according
to a new report.

Nationwide, 1.5 million people are harmed from drug errors, more than
half of them in nursing homes, said the Institute of Medicine report,
released Wednesday.

The total financial cost? More than $3.5 billion in extra lab fees,
increased hospital stays and more drugs needed to fix what went wrong.

"I'm a patient safety researcher and I was surprised and shocked at just
how common and how serious this is," said Albert Wu, professor of health
policy at Johns Hopkins University on the IOM panel.

"We need to wake up and take this more seriously and then everyone can
play a part."

The report is a follow-up to the 1999 "To Err is Human" review, also by
the IOM, that found that 7,000 people die every year from medication
errors. That's about one for every hospital in the country _ a number
that experts consider low.

The report was based on a review of a number of studies, ranging from
medication error costs to drug-labeling standards.

In the hospital, many mistakes occurred with specific drugs, mainly
blood thinners and insulin, complicated medications that have adverse
reactions to other drugs.

The original "To Err is Human" report was triggered by the case of Betsy
Lehman, a 39-year-old wife and mother of two who died after receiving
an overdose of a chemotherapy drug to treat breast cancer. She was a
health reporter for The Boston Globe.

But almost everyone interviewed for this article also had a personal
story to tell.

David Bates, chief of internal medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital
in Boston, said his daughter was prescribed too much of a painkiller
before surgery.

Lawrence Carey, a pharmacist at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
and a Philadelphia University professor, stopped a pump programmed to
deliver a day's worth of a blood thinner into his body in 15 minutes.

And James Bagian, chief patient safety officer for the Department of
Veterans Affairs, said his father was paralyzed for more than a year
because of an overdose.

He said consumers need to be vigilant.

"If you don't care about your health care, who does?" asked Bagian,
known for implementing innovative electronic prescribing and bar coding
programs at the VA.

"It's like buying a car, anyone who goes into the health care system
without some level of skepticism is just foolish."

The Institute of Medicine panel laid blame across the health care system,
from government officials to people in waiting rooms. The Washington-based
independent panel made several recommendations:

_The Food and Drug Administration should make drug evaluations more
comprehensive, referring to safety problems involving hormone replacement
therapy, COX-2 inhibitors and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

_Hospitals should incorporate electronic prescribing, with doctors and
pharmacies moving to e-scribing by 2010.

_Patients should pay more attention to their medication directions and
be assertive in asking questions about risks.

_Medical, pharmacy and nursing schools should teach basic safety protocols
as soon as students step in the door.

"There are medical abbreviations that should never be used, that are
often misunderstood and students should be learning this immediately,"
said Michael Cohen, president of the Institute for Safe Medication
Practices, an independent watchdog group in Huntingdon Valley, Pa.

Cohen, who has criticized pharmaceutical companies for creating confusing
medication labels and drug names, was on the IOM panel.

Locally, some of the report's proposals are already in place.

In the Philadelphia region, 20 percent of hospitals have e-scribing, or
Computerized Physician Order Entry, said Andrew Wigglesworth, president
of the Delaware Valley Health care Council in Philadelphia, a coalition
of 65 hospitals and health care facilities.

Several hospitals have instituted bar-coding systems in their pharmacies,
and some, like Methodist Hospital, have bar codes on both patients
wristband and their medications. So if a nurse scans a medication and
a wristband, they should match.

Of course, the technology is neither cheap nor foolproof.

The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania spent $6 million in
2004 to install a physician-order entry program. It greatly reduced
handwriting errors, but not all human ones, said Patrick J. Brennan,
Penn's chief medical officer.

"If the information is displayed in a way that the doctors and nurses are
not accustomed to, that's a new fact and can lead to unintended errors,"
he said.

For example, if a drug prescription is for 40 mg, but the computer only
displays the unit _ 20 mg _ a patient might receive too low a dose,
he said.

One problem is that software is not standardized, said Bagian, of the
VA. That means if a patient who lives in Nebraska has a car accident in
Philadelphia, the hospital may not be able to pull up past records. Even
regional systems don't always share information.

"We're not integrated in this playing field yet," said Peter Pronovost,
medical director of the Center for Innovation in Quality Patient Care
at Johns Hopkins.

"We can put bar codes in and smart pumps but we don't have the whole
system working together all the way through."

With all the technology, warnings and information, the first step toward
eliminating mistakes starts at the simplest level, with patients knowing _
and telling _ their doctors all the medications they take. That includes
over-the-counter, herbal supplements and vitamins, said Charles Inlander,
a consumer advocate in Allentown, Pa., who sat on the IOM panel.

"Physicians have medical errors made on them just like the general
public," said Inlander, retired president of the People's Medical
Society. "We're all second-class citizens when it comes to health care."

___

(c) 2006, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Visit Philadelphia Online, the Inquirer's World Wide Web site, at
http://www.philly.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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http://www2.mrbrklyn.com/resources - Unpublished Archive or stories and articles from around the net

  1. 2006-07-13 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] On Line Again
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  6. 2006-07-15 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Journal
  7. 2006-07-15 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] RIAA Case dismissed...
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  11. 2006-07-16 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] 300 dollar GNU systems - Link
  12. 2006-07-16 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] 300 dollar GNU systems
  13. 2006-07-17 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Things change fast
  14. 2006-07-17 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] current politics
  15. 2006-07-18 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] current politics
  16. 2006-07-19 From: "mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com" <mlr52-at-michaellrichardson.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: [nylug-announce] NY Linux Users Group Meeting 7/19: Ajai
  17. 2006-07-19 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Fwd: [nylug-announce] NY Linux Users Group Meeting 7/19: Ajai Khattri on Ruby on Rails
  18. 2006-07-19 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS Meeting
  19. 2006-07-19 ronny <ronny.coder-at-gmail.com> Re: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] NYLXS Meeting
  20. 2006-07-20 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Re: Whats cooking
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