Will Hospital Pharmacists Visiting Patient Rooms Reduce Drug Errors?
Hospital patients see many people during their stays including nurses, doctors, radiologists, specialists, and technicians. While hospital pharmacists are often a part of the care routine, they rarely interact with patients. Two hospitals in Massachusetts are changing that.
Boston.com explains Hallmark Health System hospitals have pharmacists visiting patients to answer their questions and help coordinate with doctors and nurses on patient care. This is one of their efforts to reduce hospital pharmacy errors. Equipped with laptops allowing them to monitor patients, pharmacists are free to meet with patients and families.
Hallmark Health is also modernizing and adapting new technologies they hope will also help to reduce medication errors. They are using programs and equipment to monitor medication levels, check for possible drug interactions, and ensure each patient gets the right dose of the right drug on the right schedule.
By ensuring patients see a pharmacist before being discharged, Hallmark Health hopes to further reduce the chance of a drug error. Pharmacists are able to speak directly with patients to find out first hand what other drugs a person might be taking, reducing the possibility of an adverse drug interaction. They can also help patients understand how important it is to follow prescription instructions and make sure there is someone at home to help remind patients to take their medications and to refill prescriptions if necessary.
Pharmacists are also better able to partner with doctors and nurses to adjust medication regimens. Since they are on the hospital floor rather than in the pharmacy, they are on hand to respond alongside doctors to patients’ reactions to prescriptions. In the event of a patient that does not tolerate a drug well, they are there to help address the situation more quickly, which Hallmark Health argues will lead to better outcomes.