Medication Safety - a top priority at HHC hospitals - is in the limelight this July as public hospitals across New York City reach out to teach patients the most important steps they can take in their own homes to protect themselves and their loved ones. According to the National Institute of Medicine, studies show that 21 to 50 percent of all drugs being prescribed are not taken correctly by patients at home.
"Patients can do a lot to help reduce medication errors," said Dr. Pranav Mehta, Associate Medical Director and Patient Safety Officer at Metropolitan Hospital Center. "All of our healthcare professionals, from the doctors and nurses who treat patients, to the pharmacists who dispense their medications, are committed to educating their patients about medication and working with them as partners to reduce the chance of errors."
Here’s what patients can do to prevent medication errors:
- Always ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist the name of the medicine, dosage and what it is supposed to do. Also ask how, when, and how long you should take the medicine. Ask about possible side effects and what to do if they happen;
- Tell your doctor about any medicines you take. Do not forget to tell him or her about any over-the-counter products you take such as drinks, vitamins, herbs or medicine you may buy in the drug store;
- When you pick up your medicine, make sure it has both your name and your doctor’s name;
- Take your medicine as told by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist;
- Tell the doctor if you had a really bad reaction to medicines in the past;
- Do not break your pills in half unless your doctor, nurse or pharmacist told you to do so;
- Never take medicine in the dark. Make sure you look at the pill to make sure it is the right one;
- If you have any questions, ask your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.