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The Importance of a Medical Crisis Plan featuring Outstanding Pharmacy Equipment

Published on: 10.11.2013

The epidemic of patient harm in hospitals is spreading. A new study, in the Journal of Patient Safety, reports that patient deaths due to preventable adverse events number in the hundreds of thousands. This death toll would make medical errors the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer, based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistic. One way to improve patient safety is to implement a medical crisis plan and use first-rate pharmacy equipment.

The topic of crisis management was focused on during the 2013 Summer Meeting of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. "Many health care systems think they have a crisis plan, but they don’t. Often it’s only in someone’s head. It’s not written, not practiced, not tested," notes Frank Federico, RPh, executive director at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) in Cambridge, Mass, in Tips for Surviving ‘The Unthinkable’ In Patient Safety.

A crisis management team is ideal. Appoint each member clearly defined responsibilities to avoid confusion. The team will consist of the hospital’s chief medical officer, chief nursing officer, chief public relations officer, legal counsel, an ethicist, a patient representative and a pastoral care counselor, suggests Mr. Frank Federico in, "Respectful Management of Serious Clinical Adverse Events,” which he co-authored.

The types of errors that need to be monitored are: commission, omission, communication, context and diagnostic. Errors of commission happen when doctors' actions harm patients. Errors of omission are when actions that were necessary weren't performed on patients. Errors in communication are due to a lack thereof between doctors and patients. Contextual errors apply when physicians fail to take into account patients' constraints, which prohibit successful postdischarge treatment. Diagnostic errors are the result of delayed treatment, the wrong treatment, or no effective treatment.

The aforementioned errors focus on the patients, but doctors are victims of medical crises as well. Hospital staff may deal with guilt, anguish and depression in the aftermath of an event. For this reason, professional counseling should be available.

Besides an effective medical crisis plan, another way to prevent errors is by using superior pharmacy equipment. Digital counting scales need specific features such as preventing cross contamination, ways to reduce pill counting errors, and more to aid in patient safety. Contact us to learn how our pharmacy scales fit into your medical crisis plan.

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