Research in Brain Function Meant to Reduce Medication Errors
Eurekalert.org reported the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied published a special issue examining ways to reduce medical errors and improve patient care. According to editor Dr. Daniel Morrow, “the number of deaths from preventable medical mistakes is equivalent to a 727 jet or two crashing every day of the year.” The large number of people who died due to a doctor’s mistake is a major issue despite advances in technology and understanding.
One of the articles focused specifically on hospital medication errors. When hospital patients receive medication, nurses are their final safety check against prescription errors. The Institute of Medicine reported drug mistakes are the most common medical errors with most hospitalized patients experiencing at least one per day of their stay.
Experts examined the behaviors and visual scanning patterns of nurses while they identified patients to give them medication to find reasons for errors. During a previous study, nearly 40 percent of participants gave medication to the wrong person. By studying the steps of nurses who successfully found the experimental errors, researchers hoped to establish training tools and techniques for use in real world situations to reduce the rate of hospital medicine mistakes.