ISMP recommends safer syringes to healthcare authorities for 2017

Tuesday January 17 2017

Wider utilization of safety syringes and improved checks on pharmaceuticals are two of the key areas where healthcare safety standards could be tightened in 2017, a new report suggests.

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has published a list of the biggest medical safety issues affecting US healthcare facilities throughout 2016, finding that the prescription of incorrect dosages of opioids, antithrombotics and insulins were the top three mistakes made by healthcare staff.

This was closely followed by giving out the wrong doses of antipsychotic and antibiotic medication, along with prescribing the wrong type of antibiotic altogether in some cases.

With regard to the prescription and injection of insulin to patients, 31 percent of doctor or pharmacist errors resulted in harm to the patient, including sharps injuries and dangerous doses of the substance being injected.

As a result, the ISMP is calling on hospitals to use safer syringes to improve their sharps safety standards as we enter into 2017. Not only can this help to ensure patients are always receiving the correct dose of insulin, but it can also ensure that significantly fewer needlestick injuries occur in healthcare settings, subsequently reducing the number of blood-borne infections - such as hepatitis C and HIV - that are transmitted via sharps injuries in the US every year.

In addition, the ISMP is calling on doctors to join forces with nursing staff to make sure that safer practices are established across the entirety of their hospital, not just in one department.

The top five 2016 medical errors were presented by Darryl S Rich, a medication safety specialist for ISMP, at the Midyear Clinical Meeting of the American Society of Health System Pharmacists, using data gathered from risk assessments, consumer feedback reports and hospital medication error reports.