Preventing Medical Errors – Patients Also Need To Know

Medical errors are one of the leading causes of further injury and death. According to a recent report by the American Medical Institute, an estimated 98,000 deaths in US hospitals each year are a result of medical errors.

Medical errors occur when a job planned as part of a medical care process has not been properly implemented. So what can the sick do? The most important way that can help prevent errors is to be an active member of your own health care team. What people should do is:
When taking the drug

Make sure your doctor is aware of everything you are taking, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and nutritional supplements like vitamins and herbs

. At least once a year, patients should bring all the medications they are taking to the doctor to check. This allows the doctor to update the medical record, helping the patient to have better quality of care.
- Make sure the treating doctor has mastered all the history of allergy and side effects that the patient has had with the medication
This can help people avoid taking a drug that could harm them.

Preventing Medical Errors - Patients Also Need To Know

- When the doctor prescribes a prescription, the patient needs to make sure he can read it. If the patient cannot read the doctor's handwriting, the pharmacist may also be unable to read.
- Ask for information that is easy to understand about the medicine you are using, when it is prescribed by a doctor and when receiving medicine from a pharmacist. Questions to ask are: What are the drugs used for? How to use the medicine and for how long? The potential side effects of the drug? What to do if they happen? Is this medicine safe to combine with other medications currently used? When eating the drug should avoid eating or drinking what food, avoiding activities? When you get your medicine from a pharmacy, ask: is this the medicine the doctor has prescribed me?
- When prescribing or instructing obscure drug use, proactively ask your doctor or pharmacist.
- Ask your pharmacist about the best tools for measuring liquid medication. There are many people who do not properly understand liquid medicines. For example, many people use teaspoons at home, the size often not equal to the actual teaspoon for measuring liquids

Special instruments, such as marked syringes, help people measure more medicine doses.

Preventing Medical Errors - Patients Also Need To Know

Ideally, patients should be instructed to use these devices.
- Patients should request written information about side effects that the drug may cause. If we know in advance what is likely to happen, we will be prepared to deal better. That way, the patient can report the problem immediately and get help before it gets worse.
When inpatient treatment

- If you need to choose a location for examination and treatment, choose a hospital where many patients come to perform the procedure or surgery you are in need.
- If you are being treated as an inpatient, ask all medical staff and people in direct contact with them whether they have washed their hands? Hand washing is an important measure to prevent the spread of infection in hospitals.
- While undergoing discharge, ask the doctor to explain the treatment plan to be followed at home. This includes knowing what medications to take and when to return to normal activities.

Preventing Medical Errors - Patients Also Need To Know

Research shows that at the time of discharge, doctors are more likely to appreciate what patients already understand about what they should or should not do when they return home.

When surgery

- If surgery is required, make sure that the person who is sick, the treating doctor, and the surgeon are unanimous and understand clearly, exactly and specifically about what will be done. Things to do more:
- Please say what you still have questions or concerns. Patients have the right to ask anyone their health-related questions.
- Make sure that someone, like a private doctor, is overall responsible for your health care. This is especially important when the patient has multiple health problems or is hospitalized.
- Make sure all health professionals participating in your health care have all important information about you. Don't assume that everyone already knows everything they need to know.

Preventing Medical Errors - Patients Also Need To Know

- Have a family member or friend stay and represent you (this person can help the patient do everything and speak for them). Even if they think that help is not needed, patients may still need them later.
- Recognize that "more" is not always better. Find out why a test or a treatment is needed and helpful. Maybe it's better not to do it.
- Please be interested in asking about test results.
- Find out about the pathology and treatments by asking the doctor and going.

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