Medication mix ups at hospitals are blamed for more than 1.5 million people injured every year and as many as seven thousand deaths. That's according to a new report from the National Institute of Medicine. Which says on average a patient in the hospital will have at least one medication error per day.
Not all are harmful but they are costly. The report says those errors add up to thousands in unnecessary drug charges on a patients bill.
"I was surprised and shocked at just how common and how serious a problem this is. I think we all need to wake up and take this more seriously," said Dr. Albert of the Johns Hopkins University.
At least the report offers some solutions, it says within four years all prescriptions should be written electronically, instead of by hand. The report also suggests that computer databases should flash alerts if the prescribed dose seems too high or could react dangerously to another drug the patient is taking and finally. It also says patients really must start keeping a record of prescriptions and any herbal remedies they might be taking.
The report also calls for a new hotline and online information resource with easy to understand drug information. The Institute of Medicine is a branch of the National Academy of Sciences which is an independent organization chartered by Congress to advise the government.