The 10 Most Common Prescription Errors

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With over 20,000 FDA-approved prescription drug products and thousands of health supplements, it can be nearly impossible for practitioners to keep track of the sheer volume of medications available. This can, unfortunately, lead to prescription errors, which can be detrimental to patient care. 

Medication errors can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction and trust in the healthcare system. As medical practitioners and pharmacists, it is essential to remain vigilant when prescribing and dispensing medications. Being aware of common errors and taking steps to prevent them is key.

In this article, we have highlighted some of the most common prescription errors practitioners and pharmacists make. We have also discussed why electronic prescription services are the best solution for medical practitioners to prevent prescription errors. 

Here are the ten common prescription errors practitioners should be aware and wary of:

1. Unclear or Illegible Prescriptions

When a prescription is unclear or illegible, it can lead to the wrong medication being prescribed or the incorrect dosage being given. To avoid this, doctors should make sure their handwriting is clear or use electronic prescribing systems.

2. Wrong Dosage or Quantity of Medication

When the wrong dosage or quantity of medication is prescribed, it could lead to ineffective treatment or an increased risk of side effects. This could result from a calculation mistake, an incorrect dosage form, or an incorrect measurement. To avoid this, doctors should double-check their calculations and ensure they are prescribing the correct dosage.

3. Prescription of Drugs that Interact

This is when a doctor prescribes two or more medications that interact with each other at the same time. This could increase the risk of serious side effects or even drug toxicity.

4. Incorrect Sig Instructions

When a medication is prescribed with incorrect or unclear Sig instructions, it could lead to the medication not being taken properly or at the wrong time of day. This could result in ineffective treatment. To avoid this, doctors should ensure their Sig instructions are clear and easy to understand.

5. Rate of Usage

This is when a medication is prescribed at too low or too high a rate of usage. This could lead to either ineffective treatment or an increased risk of side effects.

6. Errors in Diagnosis and Treatment Selection

When an incorrect diagnosis or treatment selection is made, it could lead to the wrong medication being prescribed, leading to ineffective treatment or adverse side effects.

7. Inaccurate Drug Name

When an incorrect drug name is used, it could lead to a doctor prescribing the wrong medication or giving the incorrect dosage. To avoid this, doctors should ensure they are using the correct drug name and double-check their prescriptions before sending them to the pharmacy.

8. Incorrect Prescription Format

This is when a prescription is written in an incorrect format. This could lead to the doctor prescribing the incorrect medication or giving the incorrect dosage.

9. Omission of Prescription

When an important drug is omitted from the prescription it could lead to serious medical complications. This is because the patient may not receive the necessary medication to treat their condition. To avoid this, doctors should make sure they are prescribing all necessary medications and double-check their prescriptions before sending them to the pharmacy.

10. Prescription of Unauthorized Drugs

This error occurs when a doctor prescribes a medication that is not approved for use in the patient’s country or state. This can lead to serious medical complications as the drug may not be safe or effective. To avoid this, doctors should ensure they are prescribing medications that are approved for use in their patient’s location.

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Steps to Take to Prevent Prescription Errors

Prescription errors can be dangerous and costly, so it is important to take steps to prevent them. Fortunately, there are several ways to reduce the risk of prescription errors. 

First and foremost, prescribers should always double-check medications and doses before administering them. They should ensure the prescriptions are accurate and that the patients take the correct medication and dose. Additionally, when speaking with pharmacists, doctors should double-check the name, strength, and quantity of the medication. 

It is also important to have an effective communication system in place between healthcare professionals, pharmacists, and patients. When communicating with patients, ensure that they understand their medication instructions and any possible side effects. 

It is good to note that several factors can contribute to prescription errors. Human error is certainly a factor, but if the system itself is flawed, it can compound the problem and lead to more errors. As such, the best way for medical practices to avoid prescription errors is to use an electronic prescribing system as a standalone system or integrate it with their EHR systems.

E-prescribing software is a valuable investment because it can not only reduce the potential for prescription error, but it can also help ensure that the patient’s medical history and allergies are taken into consideration during the prescription process. These capabilities ensure that the risk of adverse drug reactions is eliminated.

Additionally, e-prescribing software can enable doctors to send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, eliminating the need for the patient to transport the prescription to the pharmacy. This reduces the potential for errors due to incorrect information.

Medical practitioners who are yet to integrate e-prescribe software into their systems should note that they may be violating Electronic Prescribing of Controlled Substances (EPCS) mandates, which are in effect in many states. 

The consequences of noncompliance with EPCS mandates are dire. Therefore, medical practitioners should consider investing in e-prescribe software sooner rather than later. It is also recommended to check EPCS mandates by state to ensure that they choose e-prescribe software that can help them meet all their state requirements. 

Leverage the Power of NewCrop to Streamline Your Prescription Process

For medical practices looking for an efficient and secure e-prescribe solution, NewCrop is an excellent option. With its secure, user-friendly interface, medical providers can get to enjoy the benefits of electronic prescription services. For instance, the software can enable practitioners to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically quickly and accurately. This helps to reduce errors that could occur when prescribers write prescriptions by hand or enter them into the system manually.

NewCrop also offers an integrated medication history feature that provides a comprehensive view of a patient’s medication history. This helps medical providers make informed decisions about medications and reduce the risk of adverse reactions due to multiple prescriptions. The system also includes drug interaction alerts to help medical providers avoid potential drug interactions.

Are you interested in learning how e-prescribe software works and how it can benefit your practice? Schedule a demo today. 



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