DHS Committee Issues Guidelines Seeking to Reduce Medication Errors in Hospitals
The California Department of Health Services has issued guidelines designed to help hospitals statewide substantially reduce or eliminate medication errors, Reuters Health/NewsRounds reports. Under the guidelines, established by a panel of providers, DHS staff members, consultants and professional organizations, hospitals must establish a formal plan to reduce medication errors by Jan. 1 as a condition of licensure. DHS sent a letter to approximately 500 California hospitals outlining requirements for error-reduction plans and citing best technology practices hospitals may consider in developing their plans. Those technologies include computerized physician order entry systems, personal digital assistants and computerized pharmacy systems with automatic alerts to screen for potential allergic reactions and adherence to dosage guidelines. All acute care facilities, special hospitals and surgical clinics are required to implement their error-reduction plans by Jan. 1, 2005. Hospitals also will be required to develop a reporting system to evaluate medication errors and to review their plans annually (Reuters/NewsRounds, 11/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.