Factors that may cause medical errors also impact the economy

Friday July 5, 2013

Medication use is part of the health care system in the United States. It helps every person, including people in New Haven, Connecticut, to feel better and eliminate certain medical conditions. However, recent findings show that medication use influences patients and the economy.

Reportedly, medication use amounts to approximately $213 billion a year in health care costs. This figure comes to approximately eight percent of health care costs across the country. While this amount may not be surprising given that the cost of medicines varies depending on the patient’s illness, some researchers have found these statistics alarming. They also added that the staggering amount of medication use can be avoided if only medication overuse, underuse and medication mistakes in particular could be prevented. If that happens, Americans may be able to prevent four million trips to emergency rooms, six million hospitalizations and 78 million doctor visits each year.

According to sources, inappropriate antibiotic prescriptions cost almost $35 billion, while medication errors amounted to $20 billion per year. Prescribing antibiotics may result in more expensive treatment and complications for patients, such as infections and resistance to antibiotics.

Medication errors, however, may be due to doctor’s careless handwriting, which may lead to patients receiving the wrong dosage or drugs. While it was reported that medication errors decrease because more doctors are using electronic prescriptions, the possibility of the situation, which may complicate and endanger the life of a patient due to medication errors, is still higher.

Inappropriate prescriptions, medication errors or medication confusion may cause expensive health care in the U.S. Such factors may endanger the patient’s life and result in injuries or death. If that occurs, patients who are injured due to medication error or other doctors’ mistakes may claim compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. The compensation may cover the medical malpractice victims’ loss of income, hospitalization and emotional distress.

Source: Daily Herald, “Wiser medication use could cut health costs,” June 23, 2013

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