Case Management

CMW news: Survey says recession causing medication errors

Case Management Weekly, January 20, 2010

Hospital workers participating in an Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) survey say the recession has led to more medication errors.

Most of the survey’s 848 respondents were nurses and pharmacists working at a staff or managerial level in hospitals. They said measures taken in response to the recession (i.e., staff cuts, changes in drug purchases, and increased workloads) have put patients at risk for medication mistakes.

Other highlights of the study include:

  • Half of the survey respondents said staffing cuts have either reduced the role of or eliminated the medication safety officer position.
  • More than one-third of respondents said pharmacists are either no longer present on the floor or are responsible for more units.
  • One-third of respondents said that the economic downturn forced their facility to make unsafe drug purchases such as purchasing multiple-dose vials instead of single-dose vials.
  • Many respondents said their facility has reduced drug inventory and even run out of commonly prescribed medications
  • One-third of respondents said staffing cuts have led to increased workloads, thereby leaving less time to conduct double-checks on high-risk medications before dispensing them.

Source: Healthleaders Media

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