JCAHO seeks to improve drug safety

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 13, 2006

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The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations issued an alert that urges physicians and others to increase attention to making sure patients' medications are properly transferred when they move from one care setting to another, or one practitioner to another.

Patients may receive duplicative medications, incompatible drugs or wrong dosages if medication isn't transferred properly with the patient. In 2005, more than 2,000 voluntary reports of medication reconciliation errors were received by United States Pharmacopeia, a group that sets standards for drugs.

To cut error risk, health professionals should put the list of drugs in a visible place in a patient's chart and include information about dosages, drug schedules, immunizations and drug allergies. They also should give each patient a complete list of medications that he or she will take after being discharged, as well as instructions on how long to take any new drugs.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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