It is important for physicians to prescribe the correct medicine for their patients. Taking the wrong medication can worsen a person’s condition or even cause someone to die. Committing an error in prescribing a drug could also represent a threat to your medical license since a patient might accuse you of negligence and incompetence.
Studies have looked into the causes of prescription drug errors and have come up with ways to minimize the possibility of prescribing the wrong medicine. Taking cautionary steps to fill out a prescription order may even serve as a defense against charges of negligence and unprofessionalism.
Set up a time to fill out orders
Sometimes a doctor writes down a drug name while distracted. This can result in an unclear or incorrect drug name. According to a study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website, physicians may minimize distractions by writing down their drug orders at the same time they handle their other paperwork. This should be a time separate from patient visits unless it is an emergency.
Establishing a special time to do medication errors may be important if you have to defend your license. You may mark off this time period on stationary or on a notebook so you might show it as proof that you take serious steps to correctly fill out prescriptions.
Use electronic records
Drug errors may also result from poor handwriting. This happens because hurried doctors scribble writing that pharmacies have problems understanding. Some doctors go for shortcuts to write out a drug name, but an abbreviation may still cause confusion. This problem is why more and more physicians type their drug names into an electronic medium. This eliminates the problem of bad handwriting, though errors like a mistaken drug name or an incorrect dosage might still occur if you are not careful.
Be clear in your instructions
Health care providers who write prescriptions should provide clear instructions on how to use the medicine. Assuming that a patient knows what to do can be dangerous. Some people do not know how many pills to take or when to take them. Dosage is also critical to understand, as overdosing may produce serious health problems or death.
Overall, clear communication may do a lot to avoid a medication error. Showing that you as a doctor take your job seriously through proper organization and clear record keeping, in addition to any other steps your job requires, may make the difference if you must defend your license.