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    The Top 4 Medication Errors Your Patients are Making

    The problems your patients have—what you can do about it.


    Difficulty with packaging chart

    2. Problems with medication packaging

    The problem

    Beyond having difficulty understanding a drug’s labeling, many patients have trouble just opening the package. Sixty-one percent of respondents reported having difficulty opening a container package, while 24% reported that a tablet/pill broke or crumpled when removed from packaging and 23% reported that pills would spill out the container. More alarmingly, 8% reported getting containers mixed up and taking the wrong medication.

    What you can do

    Take time to understand the problems your patients are having with their drugs. If the packaging is confusing in any way, consider giving a brief tutorial at the counter. If you can, change the type of packaging to make it easier for that patient. Take the time to learn all you can about a device and learn how to teach patients to use it—even if the instructions are confusing.

    Additionally, you can rely on new label-making techniques. Luminer President Tom Spina says that improvements are being made in label-making to allow labels that consist of several pages, which allows for more information and instructions in the same amount of space. Drug manufacturer’s labels no longer rely on a human proofreader, but on machines that now check each label for accuracy and consistency. This ensures that patients have the information they need.

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