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    Pharmacist error rate rises as workload climbs

     

    Medications associated with errors

    The five most common medications associated with an error report were pneumococcal vaccine (13 percent) for duplicate order, piperacillin-tazobactam 3.375-g vial (4 percent) for allergy or wrong dose, influenza virus vaccine (3 percent) for duplicate order, warfarin sodium 5-mg tablet (2 percent) for wrong dose, and dexamethasone injection 4 mg/mL (2 percent) for wrong dose.

    However, additional studies are needed to validate the research and identify a maximum number of orders verified per hour that maintains safe practices, according to the researchers. “Future work should also focus on improving the efficiency of the order verification process without increasing the risk for medication errors,” they wrote.

    Christine Blank
    Contributing Editor Christine Blank is a freelance writer based in Florida.

    5 Comments

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    • Anonymous
      And this headline is news???? All practicing pharmacists that are on the frontlines already know this fact!!! CEO's of for-profit and NON-profit organizations are all the same-->increase the bottom dollar to line their pockets. When are we all going to stand up for our licenses, no matter which kind we have?? Increased errors have nothing to do with what type of license we have, either, as the article states it is "statistically insignificant". I am a R.Ph. who has had to clinically train a PharmD. Experience matters when making judgmental decisions. Your article also mentions that pharmacists with longevity had fewer errors. Yet, there are many organizations that age discriminate. Some disguise their discharge of an employee with "unsatisfactory performance", when their performance is based on meeting the numbers game instigated by management. Older employees typically make more money, therefore employers are willing to get rid of the older employee. The company can then take the risk of hiring an inexperienced PharmD at a lower rate of pay. The older employee is expected to train the inexperienced PharmD and correct the PharmD's mistakes with their knowledge. Experience and methodical work practices are what matters when dispensing medications to patients. Wait until one of these CEO's family members, or themselves, are injured by an overworked pharmacist, and then we will see what happens!! Probably nothing, as numerous attempts at getting them to recognize the increased workload means the need for additional staff has always fallen on deaf ears.
    • AnthonyGesualdo
      A person can spin the reason why errors occur , when actually it's a simple fix. A greater workload should be accompanied by more help. It doesn't matter what your degree is but whether you can do every task presented in addition to filling a prescription. We all know the real reason there is no extra help for the pharmacist, it's simple. Any additional help will take away from the bottom line. It's business and pharmacists are hard working overburdened individuals who will get the job done. We take all the chances , break our backs mentally and physically so people can ask us to do more, because they know we will. The people doing all the studies have no clue nor can they ever do what we do.
    • MicheleNelson
      You said it, fellow rph!
    • Anonymous
      “There was also a lower error rate seen for pharmacists who had a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, compared with those who had a Bachelor of Science degree; however, those results were not statistically significant.” Shouldn't that read, "there was no difference between the error rate of pharmacists who had Doctor of Pharmacy degrees when compared with those who had Bachelor of Science degrees?" If the observed difference was not statistically significant then from a scientific perspective there was no difference. Period.
    • BobKatz
      In my lecture on how not to be the victim of a medication error consumers make a very big mistake but not doing a simple thing. They go to the pickup counter, the cashier gets the bag and verifies the name and address. The customer pays and walks out of the pharmacy. The consumer rarely checks before leaving the pharmacy that the containers in the bag the label matches the receipt on the outside of the bag. This simple step would significantly reduce medication errors.