Poor communication to blame for drug errors

Failures in communication are the leading cause of medication errors that put patients in hospital, a report says.

The report, published in Quality and Safety in Healthcare, found that drug errors occurred at several stages in the patient journey, listing ‘prescribing, dispensing, administering, monitoring and help seeking'.

The most significant contributing factors in medication errors were communication breakdowns between health professionals, or between health professionals and patients.

Gaps in patients' and health professionals' knowledge of medication and a lack of information about patients' condition were also a key cause of drug errors.

‘Interventions designed to address serious drug-related injuries will benefit from taking account these underlying causes of medication errors,' the report says.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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