Preventable medication errors cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $21 billion annually, according to the National Priorities Partnership and National Quality Forum. This number has risen significantly since the Institute of Medicine published To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System in 1999. That report suggested medication errors cause more deaths in 1 year than motor vehicles, breast cancer, and AIDS. Researchers have found that many of the problems leading to these errors are systemic and cultural. Possible solutions have been implemented, but recent reports show that an increasing number of errors are endangering patients and costing the healthcare system billions of dollars. This article will discuss strategies for preventing medication errors by empowering patients to better manage their own drug regimens.
Key Learning Outcomes
Amy M. Karch, MS, RN, CNS
Karch is author of numerous books, textbooks, and articles on nursing pharmacology. She is a faculty member teaching pathophysiology/pharmacology at all levels of the nursing program. She is also a national speaker in the same areas.
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