Improving Patient Safety Through The National Action Plan For Adverse Drug Event Prevention
Every day, media reports about opioid overdose bring attention to growing concerns about the risks associated with this class of medication. Opioid overdose—as the result of unintentional dosage error, aberrant medication-related behavior, and other factors—is just one example of an adverse drug event (ADE) that is a significant cause of drug-related injury.
Although opioid overdose has been the subject of national headlines in recent months, ADEs from anticoagulants, such as blood thinners, and medicines to manage diabetes are also common, dangerous, and preventable, and deserve equal attention in national policy to protect the public’s health.
Consider that ADEs account for over 3.5 million physician office visits and an estimated 1 million emergency department visits annually. Further, an estimated one in three of all adverse events while patients are in the hospital are the result of ADEs, affecting about 2 million hospital stays each year. Now consider that approximately two in three of ADEs that occur in hospitals are related to opioids, anticoagulants, or diabetes agents. Imagine the dramatic improvements in patient safety that could be achieved if we could minimize the occurrence of ADEs from these three classes of medications.
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