Some residents of Pennsylvania may be surprised to learn how common medical errors are after patients have already been discharged from a hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that approximately 50 percent of medications administered are not taken in the manner in which they are prescribed. About 20 to 30 percent of the prescriptions given to patients are never filled. According to a recent study, a patient's health literacy, or the ability to comprehend and interpret health information, is a significant factor in determining the likelihood of successfully following a physician's instructions.
The study found that more than 50 percent of the heart patients who participated either misunderstood the instructions or made a mistake with taking their medication after being discharged. The lead author of the study noted that some of the mistakes that were made have the potential to cause harm to the patient. The researchers sampled 471 patients who were being treated for heart attacks, heart failure and other related conditions that were being released from the hospital shortly.