Pharmacists Credited for Decline in Hospital-Acquired Conditions

March 20, 2017

In the battle against ADEs, pharmacists are leading the way.

A leading medication error watchdog group says pharmacists and other health professionals are responsible in part for a 21% drop in hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) since 2010.

A report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) revealed that 125,000 fewer patients died in hospitals due to this drop in the number of HACs.

Data from the report indicated that three million fewer incidents of harm occurred between 2011 and 2015; about 42% of this reduction is from adverse drug events (ADEs).

Related article: Pharmacist outreach cuts readmission rates for patients on high-risk meds

“I think a 42% reduction in ADEs is in no small way due to the hard work put in by pharmacists and other health professionals who’ve made medication safety a major focus of their quality improvement efforts,” said Michael Cohen, RPh, MS, President of the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. “Also, we can thank new technologies, such as electronic prescribing, bar code scanning, and important work done by the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry to address medication errors associated with drug naming, labeling and packaging,” Cohen added.  

Data from the study, The National Scorecard on Rates of Hospital-Acquired Conditions, compiled by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), showed that 87,000 fewer patients died as a result of HACs, and $20 billion in health care costs were saved between 2010 and 2014. AHRQ is developing the AHRQ Quality and Safety Review System which will capture information about HACs and other adverse events directly from electronic health records.