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20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors, Part 1

We as humans aren’t perfect. While this may not be a grand revelation for most of us, it certainly applies to all of us.  Even those of us in the medical industry are not exempt from the daily mistakes that we make in our day to day lives. When our favorite drink is messed up at our local coffee house, we simply have it fixed and nothing terrible happens.  However if your Doctor or Health Care Provider makes a mistake, either with your diagnosis or worse with your treatment, that mistake may have very severe consequences. With the following 10 tips, we are hoping to minimize the risks of day to day errors and mistakes affecting the health care we receive.

  1. Be an active member of your Health Care Team. Patients that take an active participation and are involved with their own health care tend to get better results overall.
  2. Inform your Health Care Providers of the medications you are taking.  This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, and even homeopathic remedies.
  3. Inform your Health Care Providers of all allergies and any adverse reactions you may have had in the past to medications.
  4. Be sure that you are able to read and understand any new prescriptions that your Doctor writes for you.
  5. When your Doctor writes a new prescription for you, make sure you ask for information about your new medicine in terms that YOU can understand.  “What is this medication exactly for?”, “What are the side effects of this medication?”, “What sort of benefits can I expect from this medication?”, “How much and how long am I to take this new medication?”, “Will this new medication interfere with my current medications?”.
  6. When you pick up your new medication from the pharmacy, double check both verbally and by reading the labels yourself, that this is the actual medication which your Doctor prescribed.
  7. If you have any questions about the instructions regarding taking your new medication, ask the Doctor before you leave the office, or the pharmacist.  “Does ‘twice daily’ mean every 12 hours apart, 8 hours apart, or immediately after waking to immediately before bed?’”
  8. If you are taking a liquid medication, ask your pharmacist for advice on the best way to measure and dispense your liquid medication.
  9. Ask your pharmacist for written information regarding the side effects of your medication in case you need to refer to it with future complications.
  10. Always be sure to speak up if you have concerns regarding your medications or your treatment.

Tomorrow we will layout the remaining 10 tips to help prevent medical errors in our treatment. We would love to hear more tips from our readers. Please feel free to comment with your tips for making sure we get the best care from our Health Care Providers!

Written by OstomyHelp Staff and Express Medical Supply
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