Healthcare professionals play an essential role in treating patients and ensuring their health and safety. Hand in hand with this role, however, comes the risk of an error or oversight which could have potentially far-reaching consequences and leave them exposed to a lawsuit. Professionals in the pharmaceutical industry are among the healthcare providers that can be sued for medical malpractice with some of the common reasons cited being the following:
- Incorrect dispensing of medication
- Medical history errors
- Failure to check current prescriptions
Like doctors or nurses, pharmacists can be held liable for their actions and may face pharmaceutical malpractice claims when a patient suffers an injury, harm or death as the result of their negligence. Visit this site to learn more about lawyers for pharmacists. This article will explore some of the risk management processes pharmacies can employ to avoid mistakes and any potential litigation.
1. Identify the Risks
With the majority of pharmacy errors occurring due to the wrong dosage or drug, identifying and correcting the cause of such errors can significantly reduce the risk of them happening. Assessing workflows to spot potential mistakes and the frequency with which they occur can improve operational risks within pharmacies, reducing the potential for error.
2. Implement Measures to Reduce Errors
Putting checks in place to identify any errors can help pharmacies manage their risk. This could include measures such as two-person checks on labels, Tall Man lettering to differentiate between similar-sounding drugs, and adhering to a mandatory checklist of questions to ask patients before prescribing drugs.
Training staff on risk management techniques and the importance of implementing these measures can reduce the risk of an error. Educating staff on the reasons behind such measures and the benefits they offer to patients and the pharmacy is more likely to lead to consistent efforts.
4. Monitor the Results
Track and review the measures that have been implemented. Monitor workflows to see the effect of these changes and their ability to reduce risks. This may reveal the need for additional processes, or for more thorough staff training.
5. Involve the Patient
Taking the time to verify the prescription with the patient by checking the label and its contents as well as explaining the possible side effects can be one of the most effective lines of defense against a medical error. It is also an opportunity to ask patients about other medications they may be taking that could interfere or react with their prescription. By having a dialogue with their patients, pharmacists are also more equipped to query any anomalies or to ask for clarification if a prescription does not sound correct.
6. Professional Liability Insurance
In some cases where an error occurs the pharmacist can be sued alongside the pharmacy where the error occurred. It is important to have professional liability insurance in place to cover the cost of any legal expenses and possible damages that may be incurred as a result of the claim.
The best way for a pharmacy to avoid a lawsuit is by eliminating the risk of an error occuring in the first place. By following the suggestions in this article such risks can be mitigated.