Preventing Medical Errors

Powerful Essays
20 Tips To Help Prevent Medical Errors
One in seven Medicare patients in hospitals experience a medical error. But medical errors can occur anywhere in the health care system: In hospitals, clinics, surgery centers, doctors’ offices, nursing homes, pharmacies, and patients’ homes.
Errors can involve medicines, surgery, diagnosis, equipment, or lab reports. They can happen during even the most routine tasks, such as when a hospital patient on a salt-free diet is given a high-salt meal.
Most errors result from problems created by today’s complex health care system. But errors also happen when doctors* and patients have problems communicating. These tips tell what you can do to get safer care.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
The best way you can help to prevent errors is to be an active member of your health care team. That means taking part in every decision about your health care. Research shows that patients who are more involved with their care tend to get better results. Medicines
1 Make sure that all of your doctors know about every medicine you are taking. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines and dietary supplements, such as vitamins and herbs.
2 Bring all of your medicines and supplements to your doctor visits. “Brown bagging” your medicines can help you and your doctor talk about them and find out if there are any problems. It can also help your doctor keep your records up to date and help you get better quality care.
3 Make sure your doctor knows about any allergies and adverse reactions you have had to medicines. This can help you to avoid getting a medicine that could harm you.
4 When your doctor writes a prescription for you, make sure you can read it. If you cannot read your doctor’s handwriting, your pharmacist might not be able to either.
PATIENT
SAFETY
*The term “doctor” is used in this flier to refer to the person who helps you manage your health care.
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5 Ask for information about your

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