Hospitals warned not to make errors with anticoagulant medications

Anticoagulant medication errors are too prevalent and such a serious safety issue that the Joint Commission today is warning hospitals to pay better attention to how they administer this drug to patients.

Anticoagulants have been identified as one of the top five drug types associated with patient safety incidents in the United States, the commission says.

Among the causes for adverse events is incorrect dosages, food and drug interactions, and poor labeling that lends to confusion and error.

Says the commission:

Anticoagulant medication errors are such a serious patient safety issue that The Joint Commission addresses these types of errors in the 2008 National Patient Safety Goals, with full implementation of the requirements expected by January 1, 2009, for hospitals, outpatient clinics, home care and long term care organizations across the United States.