Health Care Panel Recommends Standard IV Procedure
A task force has drafted recommendations to standardize the dosage amounts of drugs administered intravenously in hospitals throughout San Diego County, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The final report will be sent to hospitals by the end of November.
The task force was created last year by nurses and drug experts from hospitals in San Diego County in response to a nationwide concern over medication errors that occur at least 400,000 times annually. The recommendations seek to standardize concentrations and drip rates for 34 IV drugs.
The panel compared IV medication procedures at hospitals in San Diego County and found variation in the concentrations of the drugs between hospitals and within hospitals. A recent survey of 100 U.S. hospitals found 45 variations for one common IV drug, according to the Tribune.
FDA does not standardize dosage amounts, leaving it to the discretion of each hospital.
Nancy Pratt, chair of the task force, said that the discrepancy in dosage amounts has been exacerbated by the growing amount of traveling nurses because nurses might assume that their current hospital has the same procedures as their last employer.
The task force also recommends prohibiting certain physician practices, such as using the letter "U" for unit, which can be misread as "O," the symbol to multiply a dose by 10 (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/13).