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Despite technological advancements, medication errors can occur

Technology at hospitals in Miami and nationwide has come a long way. Not only have there been advancements in the treatment and diagnostic tools used by physicians and surgeons, but technology has been implemented at a basic care level. However, if this technology is not used properly, or not used at all, it could lead to medical errors that harm patients rather than help them.

For example, most hospitals in the nation now use a bar code medication administration system for providing medications to patients. This system is meant to prevent medication errors. The way they work is that the patient is given a wristband with a bar code. When that person needs to be given a medication, before administering it, the clinician will first scan the patient's bar code and then scan a bar code on the medicine. This helps ensure the correct patient is being given the correct medication at the correct time.

However, according to one report, only 34.5 percent of hospitals in the nation effectively utilize their bar code medication administration system as the system is meant to be used. For example, some medical centers do not scan the medication prior to giving it to a patient. This could put patients' safety at risk.

Patients in Florida expect that if they go to the hospital, they will receive proper care. After all, hospitals are staffed with professionals who have the knowledge and expertise to handle the many different types of health issues they may face, whether it is an acute emergency situation or a situation in which a patient requires extended care. Unfortunately, despite the advancements hospitals have made to improve patient safety, if these advancements are not properly used it could lead to a medication error or other mistake that harms the patient. When this happens, patients may want to determine if they can pursue a lawsuit against the negligent physician or hospital, so they can recover the compensation necessary to make them whole again.

Source: healthcare-informatics.com, "Room for Improvement in Bar Code Administration, Leapfrog Report Finds," David Raths, April 12, 2018

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