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Medication errors threaten Ohio patients' safety

According to Forbes Magazine, American patients suffer from around 1,000,000 medication errors every year, with 7,000 individuals ultimately dying due to a doctor or nurse improperly prescribing or administering medication. It is often alarmingly easy for these dosage mistakes to go unnoticed, potentially threatening the health and lives of hundreds of Ohio patients.

Recent years have seen the introduction of technology like computerized physician order entry, a tool that allows hospital staff to automatically check all medication orders against a patient's clinical condition, allergies and other important considerations. The system alerts the user of any likely mistakes and even makes it easier for pharmacists to understand physicians' prescriptions. This greatly limits the chance of mismedication; one study found that medical errors fell by as much as 85 percent when hospitals used CPOE.

However, hospitals in Ohio and across the nation are under-equipped and frequently lack the technology needed to implement CPOE and similarly life-saving technology, putting thousands of patients at risk every day. The federal government incentivized modernization with economic stimulus funds in 2009 in the hope of making electronic medical records and CPOE more widespread, but recent surveys suggest that only around a third of medical facilities fully implement such technologies.

Medication errors entitle injured Ohio patients to damages for injuries suffered due to a doctor's negligence or mistakes, providing such individuals with a much-needed way to seek compensation for substandard care. Those who have been suffered due to such errors may wish to speak to a legal professional to learn more about how a civil lawsuit might help them.

Researchers find that many hospitals repeatedly fail to invest in CPOE and similar technology because they can easily disperse the cost of medication errors, having no motivation to improve their infrastructure unless their profits are directly endangered.

Forbes, "The Shocking Truth About Medication Errors" Leah Binder, Sep. 03, 2013

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