How to Avoid Prescription Drug-Related Mistakes in Clinics and Pharmacies

By August 10, 2017Blog

Professionals who work with prescription medication feel intense pressure every day they go to work. Knowing that one mistake can affect a patient’s life and your career can be stressful to a medical professional. But it also means that pharmacies should provide support and work to eliminate situations that may cause mistakes. Here are 3 popular reasons for drug-related mistakes, and how to prevent them.

 

Reason: Employee Takes Vacation or Gets Sick

Often times, when an employee gets sick or decides to take a vacation, it impacts the workflow of the workplace. Suddenly the clinic is short-staffed and double the responsibility falls one person, causing stress and an increased risk of mistakes. However, this does not have to be the case.

Solution: Plan Ahead

Every workplace works more effectively when there are systems in place to prevent chaos. Asking your employees to work a double shift to make up for an absent employee can backfire and do more harm than good. Instead, have a list of reliable temps at hand, who can fill in for the time that the employee is out of work. If your staff is large enough, have everyone work together to pick up the slack, rather than placing that responsibility on one person. Make sure everyone is clear on what they are responsible for while that employee is away.

 

Reason: Employee Requests to Work Overtime

Family obligations and unforeseen bills make overtime really appealing to pharmacists, but sometimes it’s not the best move. Employees who work 60-70 hour weeks are more prone to making mistakes due to exhaustion and stress.

Solution: Limit the Length of Shifts

We’re not suggesting that you don’t allow your employees to work overtime. A few extra hours every few days can’t hurt, but working 11-hour shifts every day can take a toll on anyone. It’s important that you limit the number of hours they can work each week, rather than turning a blind eye to a worn-out employee. This way you’re looking out for the health and safety of your patients and employees.

 

Reason: The Pharmacy is Understaffed

Sometimes we feel like placing a few extra responsibilities on our current staff can save us a few extra dollars, rather than hiring a new employee. Although you’re not paying another salary, your employees may start feeling undervalued, which could subconsciously affect their quality of work.

Solution: Start Holding Interviews

In a fast-paced environment like the medical industry, clinics and pharmacies can’t afford to be understaffed. You may be saving money, by delegating more work to employees, but when mistakes are made involving prescription pills, you may find an expensive lawsuit in your lap. Cutting down on employees to cut costs is not a wise long-term decision; it sets your employees up to make more mistakes and could result in harm to patients. So if your employees are complaining that they’re being stretched too thin, listen to their concerns. It may be time to add a new team member.

Sometimes human error cannot be avoided, especially when working in a high-intensity environment. Another major solution to avoiding mistakes made in your clinic or pharmacy is to eliminate the hand-counting method. Using an automatic pill counter removes that risk and ensures your prescriptions are filled with the correct amount of pills.

Take the step towards an error free system by trying the Rx-4 Automatic Tablet and Capsule Counter risk-free for 30 days. Contact us or call 949-250-4225 with any questions or to learn more about the Rx-4.