Pediatric Medication Errors

April 30, 2008



Did you know that medicine mix-ups, accidental overdoses and adverse drug reactions harm one out of 15 hospitalized children? 

Researchers found a rate of 11 harmful drug-related events for every 100 hospitalized children.  This seems like a serious issue that needs to be taken care of immediately. 

These types of medicine mistakes are considered crises.  PR professionals working in the health care field must prevent these drug errors from happening in order to maintain medical facilities’ credibility.

One of the publicized cases of an accidental drug overdose happened in a Los Angeles hospital last November.  Actor Dennis Quaid’s newborn twins were givin an accidental life-threatening heparin overdose.  The twins survived, but Quaid said it was “the most frightening time” of his life.

WebMD article stated that a hospital accreditation group, The Joint Commission, issued new guidelines for preventing pediatric medication errors in hospitals. 

Here are the tips:

  • Hospitals should weigh children in kilograms because that’s how pediatric medication doses are measured.
  • Hospitals shouldn’t give children any high-risk drugs until the child has been weighed.
  • Doctors writing prescriptions for hospitalized children should note the calculations they made to arrive at the prescribed dose.
  • Parents and caregivers are encouraged to seek information and ask questions about their children’s medications.

I would consider these tips to be good PR because they inform hospitals and parents of how to cut the risk of drug errors.  This in turn will hopefully be a step toward success in reducing the amount of pediatric medicine mistakes at hospitals. 

Clinical pharmacy manager at New York’s Children’s Hospital, Catherine Tom-Revzon, said “her hospital works to minimize medication errors in various ways, including using a computer system for doctors’ orders, standardizing concentrations of high-risk drugs and putting bar codes on medications to make sure the right patients get the right medications.”

I am glad to see hospitals are starting to implement strategies to minimize medication errors, but I think the health care industry has a long way to go.


Elderly Health Care At Risk

April 30, 2008


While talking to my roomate, who is a STNA (State Tested Nursing Assistant), I realized how serious the health care employees shortage is.

A WebMD article stated that the U.S. faces a massive health care shortage that will possibly leave millions of elderly people without proper health care.   

A report issued by the Institute of Medicine said, “medical and nursing schools are training far too few doctors and nurses on how to care for the elderly.  At the same time, other workers, such as nurses’ aides and home health workers, remain undertrained and underpaid.” 

According to the report, the number of Americans over 65 years of age is expected to nearly double by 2030.  I would be 43-years-old by 2030.  So by the time I am over 65, there will still be a health care shortage.  This shortage will eventually affect all of us in college…it’s a scary thought!

“Even if there is enough money, there isn’t going to be anybody there to provide the care,” said John Rowe, a professor of health policy and management at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

I found an article about how there are roughly 7,100 doctors certified in geriatrics in the U.S.  This means that there is one physician per every 2,500 elderly people.  Isn’t this crazy?  I hope when I get older this will change.

To reduce this crisis situation, I think medical facilities should offer doctors and nurses better incentive plans and benefits to entice them towards the geriatric field.  I also think higher salaries and more training for nursing aide workers should be offered at medical facilities.



Health Care Industry Presents: TelePresence

April 14, 2008


To excel in today’s fast-paced business world, you have to interact and collaborate with co-workers, clients and customers all over the world.  Building and maintaining relationships often requires face-to-face communication, but what if you needed to talk to someone immediately that was out-of-state or even out of the country?  Cisco TelePresence is making this face-to-face experience possible.

TelePresence provides a live, in-person experience with the quality, simplicity and reliability of a telephone call, but it’s over the network!  It integrates advanced audio, high-definition video and interactive elements with the power of the network.

Cisco TelePresence was first introduced in Oct. 2006 and is being used in many businesses all around the world. 

There are many business benefits of TelePresence.  It not only connects co-workers, clients and customers but actually builds trust, satisfaction, loyalty and understanding among them. 

TelePresence enables businesses to hold meetings with other businesses, no matter the location.  Meetings allow people to communicate naturally and effectively as if face to face.  It can increase productivity through more interactions and less travel.  Less travel will cut company costs, which will save a big amount of money.

It can also be used as a communications strategy by PR professionals to create and maintain relationships with people across the globe.

TelePresence not only benefits businesses but also benefits the medical field.  It has recently made a major breakthrough in the health care industry.

Doctors will be able to conduct a surgery happening in California for example, even if they live in Germany.  It’s crazy to think a heart transplant or hip replacement could be performed by a doctor that’s not even in the hospital room or even the same state!

Here’s the clip about how TelePresence is being used in health care:

Today’s technologies are becoming more advanced than anyone expected.  It’s our job, no matter what profession, to stay on top of the new technologies and use them effectively.