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Risk Management and Prevention at a Medical Facility

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Risk Management

Risk management is defined as a program directed toward identifying of, evaluating of, and taking corrective action against potential risks that could lead to injury of patients, staff, or visitors. It is a planned program of loss prevention and liability control, and its main purpose is to identify, analyze, and evaluate risks and then to develop a plan for reducing the frequency and severity of accidents and injuries (Decker and Sullivan, 2001). Risk management is a continuous daily program of detection, education, and intervention. This paper will describe the risk management issues at Great River Medical Center as they pertain to medication errors, and will describe the methods that are currently taking place to address this issue.

Identifying Potential Risk

Identifying potential risks for accident, injury, or financial loss requires formal and informal communication that involves all organizational departments in the facility. The risk management department at Great River Medical Center conducted on study on medication errors in the facility during preparation for a JACHO inspection. During this study, they discovered that medication errors had increased steadily over a 2 year period, and that many of them were because of illegibility reasons. The two most common legibility reasons included reading the initial order and reading the medication on the hand written medication sheet.

According to Michael R. Cohen, MS, FASHP, from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, poor handwriting is the leading cause of medication errors. Poor handwriting can blur the distinction between two medications that have similar names. And, many drug names sound similar, especially when spoken over the telephone, enunciated poorly, or mispronounced.

At Great River Medical Center, this was also found to be one of the leading causes of medication errors. The inability of the nurse to read the written order and the inability to read the written medication sheet accounted for 20 % of the medication errors at GRMC. Other reasons for medication errors at GRMC include the following:

 Incomplete patient information (not knowing about patients' allergies other medicines they are taking, previous diagnoses, and lab results, for example);

 Unavailable drug information (such as lack of up-to-date warnings);

 Miscommunication of drug orders,...

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...ch new implementation process. With the use of the Omni Cell dispensers, computerized order entry, and the electronic medical record, the hospital has seen a reduction of errors and near misses at approximately 75%. Along with this great statistic, also comes peace of mind to an already stressed out and over worked staff, that wants to provide the best care possible for the patients.

References:

Anonymous, (2004). Nursing BC. Vol.36, Iss.5; pg.33, Vancover. Retrieved December 18, 2004 from www.proquest.com.

Business Wire, (2004). Hospitalist Physicians Partner with Clinical Pharmacists to Improve Patient Outcomes, Reduce Medication Errors. Business Wire, pg. 1, New York. Retrieved December 19, 2004 from www.proquest.com.

Davis, J.L. and Smith, M. (2002). Medication Errors Rampant in Hospitals. WebMD Medical News. Retrieved on December 20, 2004 from www.mywebmd.com.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices, (2004). Measuring Medication Safety, retrieved on December 19,2004 from www.ismp.org.

Stein, R. (2004). Automated Systems For Drugs Examined; Report: Computers Can Add to Errors. The Washington Post, pg. A03. Retrieved December 20, 2004 from www.proquest.com.
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