Blood thinners are the preferred treatment option to prevent heart attacks, blood clots and stroke, but they are not without risk, and not just because of their side effects. These high-risk drugs, known as anticoagulants, account for nearly 7 percent of medication errors in hospitalized patients.
Recently, the Anticoagulation Forum announced new guidelines for the use of anticoagulants. The Anticoagulation Forum includes healthcare experts who are focused on improving anticoagulant care. There should be standardized dosing protocols for anticoagulants and blood thinners on every hospital floor, and these protocols should be accessible through the electronic medical record system. The researchers also said that having a pharmacist during patient rounds can also help reduce the risk of medication errors by as much as 70 percent.
The Anticoagulation Forum recommends that every hospital have:
- A team of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists involved in the care of each patient.
- A system that identifies and tracks patients receiving the anticoagulants.
- Better staff training and patient education.
- Stronger procedures to transition patients safely from inpatient to outpatient status.