According to the Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 7% of Medication Errors are Caused by Blood Thinners. There are two types of blood thinners: anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs. Anticoagulants work to prolong the amount of time that it takes for a person’s blood to clot. Antiplatelet drugs are used to prevent a person’s platelets from grouping, which result in a blood clot. Blood thinners are used to prevent a blood clot which can result in a heart attack or stroke.
New guidelines suggest that medication errors could be significantly reduced by implementing new technology, such as physician order entry, bar code scanning, programmable infusion pumps, and examining a patient's range of dosage.
Edith A Nutescu, PharmD FCCP, from the University of Illinois, states that “when technology based systems aren't available, having a pharmacist on patient rounds can reduce the number of errors by around 78 percent”. Dr. Nutescu also goes on to say that frequent medication prescribing errors are due to a " lack of knowledge of a patient's medication or condition".
Three factors are important to keep in mind to ensure an effective care transition from inpatient to outpatient. First, patients need to make sure that they are properly educated on how to use blood thinners. Second, it is important to follow up with the medical provider in a timely basis. Lastly, it is essential to keep regular communication with healthcare professionals.
By implementing new technology and providing better support system for patients, we could reduce medical errors and significantly reduce healthcare costs. Utilizing a support group system, as well as consulting your healthcare specialist are the best ways to get information and improve patient safety.