Home » HCI Blog » Reduce the Staggering Cost of Prescription Errors

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Emergency Department signage

Prescription errors mean higher operating costs

Medication errors are a big drain on hospital resources on many fronts, and according the National Institutes of Health, medication errors affected more than 7 million patients in 2016. That has big consequences, costing approximately $21 billion annually across all care settings. In addition, those errors can cause up to 1 million emergency room visits each year. The NIH study reports that 30% of patients have at least one prescription discrepancy at the time of discharge.

A lack of knowledge and information about prescriptions can cause:

  • Increased disease progression
  • More time in the hospital
  • Additional doctor and emergency room visits
  • Increased operational costs and labor hours

Errors often happen at initial prescribing, distribution and through outpatient care. Clearly, medication errors can occur at many points along a patient’s care path. You can arm patients and their caregivers with education about their prescriptions and medications to avoid sentinel events.

Patient safety strategies

If a patient has an option to obtain education at a time that fits their schedule, then a better recovery period and outcome is possible. Using a platform like MediaCare to see exactly what’s been prescribed as an image, they can use the the platform’s digital educational content and Rx App to identify their prescribed medications. Then, they can ask questions if needed. Including this option for more information as part of onboarding creates positive expectations and trust in your care.

What’s more, The Rx App includes images of medications in close-up so patients can verify they have the right medications. Caregivers, such as family members or friends who are assisting them, can become partners to ensure medication errors don’t happen using images. With the Rx Prescription App, patients who acquire additional information on their prescriptions have:

  • A full description of their medicines
  • Educational videos and informational pictures to identify their correct meds
  • Side effects and warnings information

Patient medication support

An important element of a patient’s journey includes educational content, and that includes keeping patients informed about their condition and treatment medications. A key to helping patients maintain better personal health education and avoid readmissions is to provide them with the right medication and information at the right time.

HCI Interactive BedMate Tablet hospital patient TV.

With education information from our content partners, including Healthwise, Krames, Elsevier and others, or even your own educational library content, information is integrated for ad hoc delivery and assignment to patients. If you push that content direct from Patient Whiteboards or the Nurses’ Station, patients can view it immediately, or search the educational library on their own using their in-room TV.

Trust, but verify: integration for successful discharge

Additionally, the RX Prescription app has a selection for patient prescriptions to be filled automatically at the facility Pharmacy prior to discharge and includes companion educational content within the Rx App. Since the EHR, pharmacy and the medication library integrate with the ADT system, there’s an additional safeguard for patients so they’re armed with the right information before they leave care.

Bedside Prescription Refills through MediaCare and the HCI RxApp

Eliminating common errors

Caregivers enter prescription information on the Patient Whiteboard, or from the Unit Whiteboard at the Nurses’ Station to:

  • Eliminate incorrect interpretation of poor handwriting on a dry erase marker board
  • Ensure correct dosing information
  • Improve collaborative communication among the Care Team
  • Establish a standard for entering prescription data
  • Monitor supply levels
  • Access historical records of prescribed medications, specifically or in aggregate
  • Reduce task saturation, and reduce trips to patient rooms
  • Decrease paperwork by directing prescription and refill data directly to the hospital pharmacy for fulfillment and delivery

That’s all win-win for patient safety.

Better Patient Education and the HCI Rx App support patients to better understand their prescriptions to avoid sentinel events.

How can we help you reach your goals for reducing prescription and medication errors (and lower costs)?