HIV medication prescribing mistakes common in hospitals
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It's extremely important for individuals with HIV to adhere to a strict medication regimen, since the best way to control this virus is with the right pills. There are many barriers that may stand in the way of an HIV-positive person taking their pills daily, such as cost or side effects. Furthermore, even medical professionals can still have a difficult time keeping track of the pills that HIV patients need to take.
According to three studies conducted at the Cleveland Clinic, the University of Chicago Medical Center and Saint Mary's Health Care, mistakes are still common in hospitals when it comes to the prescription of antiretroviral medications for HIV-positive patients. These findings were presented at the healthcare conference IDWeek 2012.
"Treatment of HIV infection is complex, involving the administration of multiple drugs that often have the potential for major interactions," said Joel Gallant, M.D., IDWeek chair for the HIV Medicine Association. "Hospitalized patients are at risk for serious medication errors, especially when drugs are added or changed by physicians without HIV expertises."
One study at the Cleveland Clinic looked at the charts of more than 160 HIV-positive patients admitted to the hospital over a 10-month period. The rate of errors in prescribing medication for these individuals was 50 percent. Furthermore, two-thirds of these errors were not even noticed until the patient had already been discharged.
Similar rates were seen at the University of Chicago Medical Center over an 18-month period.
These findings suggest that more needs to be done to enhance communication between healthcare providers to make sure that a patient is always getting the correct medications. The researchers said that an increase in clinical education and the use of electronic health records could help accomplish this goal.
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