profession

Drug errors rarely disclosed to hospital patients

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 28, 2013

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

Whether inside or outside the intensive care unit, patients and families usually are not told about medication mistakes made in care, according to a study published online Dec. 20, 2012, in Critical Care Medicine.

A review of a nationwide voluntary reporting database of 839,553 errors at 537 hospitals found that patients were informed about drug mix-ups in the ICU only 1.5% of the time. In other hospital units, the drug error disclosure rate was 2.1%, said the study (link).

That lack of disclosure could be due to the fact that the vast majority of drug mistakes do not cause harm to the patient, the study’s authors said. In the ICU, just 3.7% of drug errors hurt patients, while other hospital medication mix-ups caused harm only 1.9% of the time.

Physicians and medical ethicist experts are divided about whether disclosing harmless mistakes would be helpful to patients and families. The study said mix-ups most often happen when the drugs are administered to patients, and it added that safeguards may be needed to protect patients.

Back to top


ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISE HERE


Featured
Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story


Read story

Goodbye

American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story


Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story


Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story


Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story


Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story


Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story


Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story