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LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 119-120

Letter to the editor - Reducing medication errors in telemedicine during the COVID era - need of the hour!


1 Department of Community and Family Medicine, AIIMS Mangalagiri, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India
2 Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, AIIMS Mangalagiri, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission05-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance27-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Satvinder Singh Bakshi
Department of ENT and Head and Neck Surgery, AIIMS, Mangalagiri, Guntur - 522 503, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_40_20

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How to cite this article:
Kalidoss VK, Bakshi SS. Letter to the editor - Reducing medication errors in telemedicine during the COVID era - need of the hour!. J Med Soc 2020;34:119-20

How to cite this URL:
Kalidoss VK, Bakshi SS. Letter to the editor - Reducing medication errors in telemedicine during the COVID era - need of the hour!. J Med Soc [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Feb 25];34:119-20. Available from: https://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2020/34/2/119/307903



Sir,

“A medication error is any preventable event that may cause or lead to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of the health care professional, patient, or consumer. Such events may be related to professional practice, health care products, procedures, and systems, including prescribing, order communication, product labeling, packaging, and nomenclature, compounding, dispensing, distribution, administration, education, monitoring, and use.”[1] It is the leading cause for avoidable harm in the health-care systems globally. The economic cost medication error is estimated at $42 billion USD annually over and above this is the increasing number of lives lost due to prescription errors.[2],[3] Although telemedicine has been found to be effective in reducing medical errors,[4] the risk still exists. We attempt to offer some solutions for the same.

We suggest the use of the 5 Right checklists which comprises of “Right patient; Right drug; Right dose; Right route; and Right duration.” This checklist can be used every time a prescription is given and although not completely ideal; will go a long way in reducing medication errors.

In addition, software can be incorporated in the existing telemedicine which will give warning when drugs which interact are prescribed or when inappropriate route or dose of the medicine is prescribed. This can be further expanded to include special population such as pregnant women, lactating mothers, children, and renal or liver failure patients. The prescriptions in them can be strictly monitored by the software and appropriate warning can be given.

Besides this, environment changes should be also looked into, for example, noisy and busy working environments can be distracting and these should be avoided while practicing telemedicine.

Prescribing and dispensing medicines should be the subject of audit and clinical review by health-care professionals. This will go a long way in identifying and preventing medical errors. An important step in this regard would require developing a medication error reporting and surveillance system, which can be integrated in the existing IT system. We conclude by saying that medication errors are an important cause for avoidable harm and measures to reduce the same should be universally adopted.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. About Medication Errors. National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention; 2014. Available from: https://www.nccmerp.org/about-medication-errors. [Last accessed on 2020 May 10].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
WHO. The Third WHO Global Patient Safety Challenge: Medication Without Harm. WHO. Available from: http://www.who.int/patientsafety/medication-safety/en/. [Last accessed on 2020 May 10].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Makary MA, Daniel M. Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US. BMJ 2016 May 3;353:i2139.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Dharmar M, Kuppermann N, Romano PS, Yang NH, Nesbitt TS, Phan J, et al. Telemedicine consultations and medication errors in rural emergency departments. Pediatrics 2013; 132:1090-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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