A new study published in Age & Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, identified incidents when poor communication between secondary and primary care and failures within primary care led to patient harm and highlights how improved communications systems could help protect older patients from harm. Timely electronic transfer of information with standardised formats could reduce medication and clinical decision-making incidents. Electronic alerts and expanded use of bar-coding are examples of systems which could tackle drug administration incidents.
Older adults are frequent users of primary healthcare services and account for half of all 340 million general practice consultations in the United Kingdom each year. The study was conducted by researchers at Cardiff University School of Medicine and examined 1,591 patient safety reports relating to patients aged over 65 in England and Wales over an eight year period. Continue reading