The True Cost of the Medication Mistake: Creating an Environment that Limits Errors
How do errors in medication distribution impact a hospital’s bottom line? Just a single medication error can cost a facility hundreds of thousands of dollars. On a grander scale, medical errors cost up to $1 trillion annually according to a report in the Journal of Health Care Finance.
More importantly, preventable medical errors impact lives. In fact, they are the third largest cause of death in the United States. The Journal of Patient Safety estimates between 210,000 and 400,000 people die each year in the U.S. from adverse effects of medical treatment in hospitals. This is surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.
This staggering figure was first brought to light by the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) study To Err Is Human. A follow-up report indicated that medication errors are among the most common medical mistakes, causing up to 400,000 drug-related injuries in hospitals each year. That means a patient may be exposed to at least one preventable adverse drug event (ADE) each day. Errors occur during every step of the process but are most prevalent during prescription and administration.
How can designers aid hospitals in addressing the issue of medication errors? Creating spaces with improved point-of-care storage and distribution is one way to do just that. Medication storage and distribution at the point-of-care has been proven to reduce medication errors, theft and loss and, in turn, improve delivery accuracy.
Installing in-room or near-room, wall-mounted systems such as the WALLAroo® with ISONAS™ technology is one way hospitals are combatting never events and medication diversion. These secure systems allow medications, personal protection equipment, critical supplies, and patient data to be housed securely at the point of care.
One of the challenges of point-of-care storage has always been security. Now, with the advanced security of “Pure IP” access control technology, authorized users can open locked cabinets and other access points with a single swipe card. Access permissions are controlled through the facility’s existing credentialing system. The system offers real-time tracking of activity per cabinet and user for complete visibility, with ongoing history and audit reports to adhere to the chain of custody requirements of HIPAA. These systems can also include data encryption, with lockdown and emergency functions, and an anti-tamper alarm system.
The simplification of the clinical workflow can be the first step in creating an environment that actively thwarts medication errors. With simple, secure, and fast access to medications at the point of care, ever-busy clinical teams can maintain their focus with individual patients without leaving the point of care. Ultimately making the elimination of medication errors not only possible—but attainable.
ISONAS™ for healthcare is offered exclusively on WALLAroo® wall-mounted workstations from Carstens, Inc. Founded more than 125 years ago, the company pioneered putting patient information at the point of care with customized record systems. Today, Carstens brings new solutions to new demands—providing convenient and secure storage to help streamline daily activities, create workflow efficiencies, and foster a positive environment to improve interaction and enhance patient care.
To learn more about Carstens and the WALLAroo® with ISONAS™ line of wall-mounted workstations, visit www.Carstens.com or call (800) 782-1524.