Drug Diversion: Partially Filled Vials and Syringes in Sharps Containers Are Key Source of Problems

Partially Filled Vials and Syringes in Sharps Containers Are Key Sources of Problems By the Institute for Safe Medication Practices A 36-year-old hospital care aide (nursing assistant) who had been diverting discarded drugs died after self-administering what she likely thought might be an opioid but was actually a neuromuscular blocking agent (Fayerman, 2016a-c). The aide … Continued

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CDC: 30% of Outpatient Antibiotics Are Prescribed Inappropriately

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that approximately 30% of antibiotic prescriptions written in the outpatient setting were inappropriate. Researchers found that several common conditions contributed to the majority of inappropriate antibiotic prescribing. Forty-four percent of outpatient antibiotic prescriptions were written to treat acute respiratory conditions, sinus infections, … Continued

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Opioids: What Do Healthcare Professionals Want and Need to Know?

By Patricia McGaffigan, RN, MS; Caitlin Y. Lorincz, MS, MA; and Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS

The availability of, and access to effective and safe treatments for pain remain serious problems in the United States (Institute of Medicine, 2011). Opioid medications are important for addressing short-term and chronic pain management. Given the benefits that they provide, usage of opioids has become widespread over the past decade. However, opioid medications also carry substantial risk, and their increased usage has introduced a host of unintended consequences across the care continuum. Given this, opioids have significant implications for patient safety. The National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) conducted a convenience flash poll survey to obtain a snapshot of opioid-related patient safety concerns, learning needs, and familiarity with existing seminal publications among healthcare professionals.

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ISMP: Key Medication Errors in the Surgical Environment

Medication errors in the perioperative area received widespread media attention with the publication of an article in the journal Anesthesiology (Nanji, Patel, Shaikh, Seger, and Bates, 2016). The perioperative area is one of the most medication-intensive locations in a hospital, often with more medications, particularly high-alert medications, administered per patient than other patient care units. Yet, this area of the hospital often operates with fewer medication safety strategies in place than most other patient care units. For example, the anesthesia provider often selects, prepares, labels, and administers medications without the benefit of electronic clinical decision support, pharmacy review of medication orders prior to administration, barcode scanning of products prior to administration, and other secondary checks by other healthcare providers (Nanji et al., 2016; Brown, 2014). This lack of normal checks and balances, along with the use of multiple medications, time-sensitive tasks, complex and stressful working conditions, distractions, and fatigue all contribute to making the perioperative area particularly error-prone when medications are administered.

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