A report issued by the Institute of Medicine, (IOM) stated that 1.5 million Americans are negatively affected by mistakes in prescribing and administration of medication. The report suggested implementation of electronic prescribing in order to cross check the myriad of factors that can determine a patient’s reaction to a drug.

IOM also suggests increasing the amount of drug information available and making it more easily accessible to the public. Most importantly, the report called for an enhanced dialogue between patient and physician in order to educate patients regarding their treatment. The report encourages patients to become active participants in their treatment, moving away from the traditional paternalistic relationship between patient and physician.

The Institute of Medicine has suggested the following steps to promote greater patient awareness.

  •  Keep careful records of all medication they are taking. 
  •  Double check prescriptions from the pharmacy. 
  •  Immediately report changes in how they feel after starting a new medication. 
  •  Be aware of educational material pertaining to the medications you are taking.