Patients who are
taken to hospital emergency departments by ambulance are less likely to suffer
from medication errors if their own medicines are transported with them in the
ambulance, according to a study published in the Medical Journal of
Ms Esther Chan, a
pharmacist and PhD candidate, and her co-authors conducted an observational
study of patients arriving by ambulance at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne
between 13 and 31 March, 2006.
studied the cases of 100 patients who were admitted to the hospital, were
taking four or more regular medications, and were aged at least 18 years.
patient's own medication to the emergency department was associated with less
than half as many prescribing errors on admission medication charts compared
with when the medication was not brought in," Ms Chan said.
program should be introduced to encourage paramedics to bring patients' own
medication to the emergency department."
Among the 428
patients' own medications brought to the emergency department, 56 (13.1 per
cent) prescribing errors subsequently occurred in the hospital.
Among the 372
regular medications taken by patients for whom patients' own medications were not
brought in, 95 (25.5 per cent) errors occurred.
About 40 per cent
of errors related to a failure to prescribe a medicine on the drug chart.
Almost three quarters of errors were classified as being of "moderate" clinical
were not in tablet form were commonly omitted, including insulin, glyceryl
trinitrate patches, and eye drops for glaucoma," Ms Chan said.
"Another common error was prescription of the wrong
dose, particularly for people using inhalers or cardiovascular medications."