During the recent "Talk About Prescriptions" month, theNational Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE)focused on reducing medication errors by what it calls themedicine education team. The council noted that 4 of every 5US adults will use a prescription or OTC medication or dietarysupplements over the course of a week. It is estimated thathospitalized patients can expect to be subjected to >1 drugerror each day.
"The patient or caregiver is a key member of this team sincethe decision to start, stop, or correctly continue medication therapyresides ultimately with the patient," said Phillip Schneider,NCPIE chairman. "Doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners,pharmacists, and other health care providers must communicatemore effectively with patients, including fully informing[them] about the risks, contraindications, and possible sideeffects of the medications they are taking and what to do if theyexperience a side effect."
The council encouraged patients (and caregivers) to take amore active role in stopping medication errors by keeping thoroughrecords of all the medications they are taking and assumingmore responsibility for checking those medications—forexample, double-checking prescriptions from pharmacies andreporting any unexpected changes in how they feel after startinga new drug.