Ask HRC: Conducting and Documenting Double-Checks for Medication Safety

October 16, 2014 | Health System Risk Management


An HRCmember recently inquired about the importance of independent double-checks when medications are ordered, prepared, or administered. The member asked both about a universal definition of what constitutes an "independent double-check" and whether the double-check needs to be documented. Can it simply be enough that the hospital's policy states this is what occurs, we have evidence of training to nursing on the process, and the nurses can articulate how this is done?

As described in High-Alert Medications, the goal of an independent double check is to ensure the accuracy of medication and dose for each patient. Double checks cannot necessarily be done for each medication for each patient, because that would become overwhelming. However, in the case of high-alert or high-risk medications, or for medications...

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