A single but essential preventable error occurred within my clinical setting. It refers to the case that a physician was prescribing pain-relieving medication, Methadone 10 mg, to a patient and wrote a shortened version of its name, ‘meth10.’ Thus, the error occurred in the pharmacy, where this prescription was interpreted as Methylphenidate 10 mg. Consequently, the patient took the wrong medication that did not relieve their severe pain.
This example demonstrates that it is necessary to improve communication to reach enhanced quality. On the one hand, mindfulness and compassion-based strategies lead to better patient-physician communication because these interventions imply that distress and burnout do not affect the healthcare professionals (Amutio-Kareaga et al., 2017). This suggestion denotes that communication suffers because physicians are tired, meaning that mindfulness-based stress reduction and other strategies can improve the situation (Amutio-Kareaga et al., 2017). On the other hand, it is possible to enhance the communication between patients and pharmacies by obliging pharmacists to ask questions to the customers if doctor’s prescriptions can be interpreted in many ways.
I am sure that the error could have been prevented with a specific protocol change. It relates to imposing a ban for physicians to use shortened names when prescribing medications to patients. This approach could ensure that the patients and pharmacies do not have multiple variants when interpreting healthcare professionals’ notes. However, it is worth admitting that the error under analysis did not initiate any protocol development, meaning that similar situations can happen in the future. Consequently, this information demonstrates that specific actions should still be taken to minimize the opportunity that physicians’ prescriptions can lead to medication errors that adversely affect patients’ health.
Amutio-Kareaga, L., Garcia-Campayo, J., Delgado, L. C., Hermosilla, D., Martinez-Taboada, C. (2017). Improving communication between physicians and their patients through mindfulness and compassion-based strategies: A narrative review. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 6(3), 1-17. Web.