Patient Safety

Needle-free injection system

The Engineer: The Pyrofast system uses a fine, high-pressure jet stream to penetrate the skin and deliver liquid or solid drugs to the tissue beneath. According to the German company, the entire process takes 40m/s and creates a puncture that is four times smaller than that caused by conventional needle injections. Dr Thorsten Rudolph, managing […]

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Is bar code scanning really safer for pharmacy?

This is a great questions and one that I previously would have said is a no-brainer. I believe a bar coding system for medication dispensing from the pharmacy is an improvement in patient safety, but I would be hard pressed to prove it. A colleague of mine (John Poikonen at is fond of saying […]

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Verbal orders won’t necessarily go away after CPOE implementation

AMN Healthcare: “A new AHRQ-funded study found that of roughly 973,000 orders that physicians at a large, Midwestern hospital gave nurses over a 12-month period, roughly 20 percent were verbal orders. The hospital transitioned from a paper-based to computerized provider order entry (CPOE) system during the study period. The new study is one of the […]

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Deaths caused by postoperative hydration

ASHP: “ Standards Needed for Postoperative Hydration Therapy, ISMP Says – BETHESDA, MD 13 August 2009—Investigations into the deaths of two six-year-old children have prompted the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) to call for the establishment of standards of practice for i.v. hydration therapy in postoperative patients. According to today’s issue of ISMP Medication […]

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The use of speed bumps in healthcare

One day last week I was driving home and happened by a school that doubles as a community swimming pool in the summer. The street had several large speed bumps, forcing me to move rather slowly. I’m usually irritated by speed bumps because they slow me down. This day, however, I was happy they were […]

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Is patient safety recession-proof?

AMNews: “Protecting patients from harm is medicine’s bedrock goal, but the resources required to do so have never come cheaply. With the recession taking its toll on the health sector, doctors and other medical professionals who have tackled problems ranging from hospital-acquired infections to patient falls find their efforts increasingly scrutinized on dollars-and-cents grounds. Ninety percent […]

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Possible restriction on acetaminophen dosing “The FDA should put new restrictions on acetaminophen, an advisory committee recommended Tuesday, saying the move would protect people from the potential toxicity that can cause liver failure and even death.” – Acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) is a very safe medication. According to the article “billions of doses of acetaminophen are used safely every year.” […]

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NQF calls for pharmacists to take greater role in patient safety “Literature shows that when pharmacists are involved in care, the result is improved patient care, fewer adverse events, and reduced costs,” said Andrawis, speaking about Safe Practice 18. “But, in order for that full benefit to be realized, it’s really important that those pharmacists be given appropriate authority, and consequently that they continue to […]

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Insight into poor handwriting and why EHRs are important.

Florence dot com: “1. People who prescribe medications should use a system more sophisticated than the pine straw delivery guy’s [pen and paper] to communicate high-stakes drug information. 1,400 commonly prescribed drugs have names that look-alike or sound-alike. People can, and do, die when drug names are confused with one another. 2. Pharmacies should be able […]

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Barcode scanning technology continues to improve patient safety.

Am J Health Syst Pharm (2009;66 1110-1115): “A total of 1465 medication administrations were observed (775 preimplementation and 690 postimplementation) for 92 patients (45 preimplementation and 47 postimplementation). The medication error rate was reduced by 56% after the implementation of BCMA (19.7% versus 8.7% , p < 0.001). This benefit was related to a reduction […]

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