The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in Rockville, MD calls their article, “Reducing and Preventing Adverse Drug Events To Decrease Hospital Costs.” It was published in Research in Action, Issue 1, which is an AHRQ Publication, Number 01-0020 from March 2001. Its main focus is on the statistics of adverse drug events in hospitals, their costs in terms of life and monetary value, and what we can do about it.
This article is helpful, despite that fact that it is specific to only adverse drug events (ADE). It follows the “money trail,” which of course will catch the attention of hospital administrators, insurers, and politicians alike. A key highlight is that patients who had ADE’s were in the hospital an average of 8-12 days longer, which costs them an average of $16,000-$24,000 more per patient that experiences this. In addition, these events cost hospitals as much as $5.6 million per year (Agency 2). One would think these figures alone should cause the health care providers and system to take notice of this issue.
In addition to following the money trail, the ways to prevent and detect these errors before they occur is discussed. Some obvious things that came to light from my own experiences include the double entry of orders in the computer (clerical errors), the wrong medication sent by pharmacy (human errors) and the wrong dosage entered due to illegible handwriting of the physician. The article pointed out a new way of solving this that I hadn’t considered, which is computerization. The computer can be used in ways I hadn’t even considered. These include patient monitoring, so that when changes in patient condition are noted, the computer will alert the nurse if any of these can be related to their medication side effects, as well as manual order entry of medication by the physician (Agency 6).
Christopher Bryan-Brown with Kathleen Dracup wrote “Dying by Irreconcilable
Numbers.” It was published in the American Journal of Critical...