Good Advice from Washington Patient Safety Coalition: Jot Down, Always Carry List of Medications You

Good Advice from Washington Patient Safety Coalition: Jot Down, Always Carry List of Medications You Take

SEATTLE, Dec. 14, 2009 -- An article in today's Seattle Times says that when it comes to preventing drug errors, a local nonprofit group -- the Washington Patient Safety Coalition -- is dispensing some good, low-tech advice: Jot down on paper all the medications you take and carry it with you.

According to experts, it's a very basic thing that an individual can do that really affects their health.

The coalition, part of a Seattle-based nonprofit group, Foundation for Health Care Quality, recently launched a campaign to urge consumers to take responsibility for avoiding dangers involving prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicine, vitamins and supplements.

Medication errors are a pervasive problem in medicine. The landmark 2001 Institute of Medicine report, 'To Err is Human,' estimated that medication errors kill more than 7,000 Americans each year -- more fatalities than from workplace injuries. Other medication errors, the report said, go undocumented and unreported.

The problems can occur in all kinds of ways, said John Zarek, director of clinical pharmacy for Swedish Medical Center and a member of the Patient Safety Coalition.

To read the Dec. 14 Seattle Times article, click here.

Resources

  • To access a medication list template on the Washington Patient Safety Coalition that people can print and fill out, click here.
  • And to download a personal medication record -- available in both English and Spanish -- from the AARP Web site, click here.

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