Medication without harm
As the risk of medication errors and related harms has been exacerbated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year's topic is "Safe Medication" with the slogan "Medication Without Harm". Almost everyone depends on medication at least once in their lifetime. As helpful as medication is when used correctly, it can cause significant damage and, in the worst case, even death if used incorrectly. In order to ensure patient safety as best as possible, patients and their environment as well as all stakeholders in the healthcare system must act in concert.
Medication errors are more frequent than assumed
Medication-related harm is more common than might be thought and accounts for 50% of all preventable harm in healthcare according to the WHO. The resulting global health expenditure is estimated at 42 billion US dollars per year. While patients tend to confuse dosages or schedules, healthcare workers run the risk of confusing patients or giving the wrong drug through the wrong route. Stress, overexertion, and tiredness increase this risk, because those who are not concentrated are more likely to make mistakes. The global campaign Medication Without Harm aims at reducing serious preventable medication-related harms worldwide by 50% in the coming years and highlights the importance of the key skills “Know. Check. Ask” to both patients and healthcare workers. One thing is certain: if someone is familiar with the medication, checks it and asks if there is any doubt, errors will occur less often.
Medication harms are often preventable
There has long been an obligation to report expected side effects that can occur despite correct use of a medication. Due to the adaptation of the European pharmacovigilance directive, however, adverse drug reactions that occur as a result of medication errors are nowadays also to be documented. But what are the most common sources of error and how can errors be prevented?
Our shared commitment to patient safety is required
Patient empowerment also makes a significant contribution to general patient safety. Only well-informed patients have the necessary background knowledge, for example to be able to make decisions about their own health issues or to know when to disinfect their hands. In terms of infection prevention, HARTMANN’s Mission: Infection Prevention is also aimed at health professionals and clinics. And you too can actively contribute to patient safety! Support World Patient Safety Day on September 17 and participate in one of the many activities. The WHO also provides numerous materials free of charge. Share your commitment using the hashtags #CleanHands #PatientSafety #MedicationWithoutHarm and #MissionInfectionPrevention to raise awareness of the safe use of medication and good hand hygiene.