Smaller, rural hospitals face challenges with medication errors

| Feb 15, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Medication errors happen at just about any health care facility. But these mistakes – which can cost the life of a patient – sometimes prove more problematic and perplexing for small and rural hospitals. Why do these smaller medical facilities face an assortment of challenges that may not take place in larger facilities?

The obvious answer is resources. Small and rural hospitals just do not have the same resources, and, actually, a much more limited number compared with larger hospitals. For example, many likely do not have a staff member focused solely on ensuring medication safety. There typically are not any specialists as most staff members are responsible for a variety of duties. Additionally, rural hospitals may not have access to electronic health records and critical technologies that can help in identifying and preventing medication errors.

Survey dealt with high-alert medications

A survey from 2018 supports the challenges faced by smaller health care facilities. Sponsored by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), the survey asked 867 health care facilities how they dealt with preventing errors involving high-alert medications such as insulin, opioids, chemotherapy and anticoagulants. About a third of the survey participants were from hospitals with fewer than 100 beds.

The results disclosed that smaller facilities had less-than-stellar results. When it comes to error prevention strategies.