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      A systematic approach of tracking and reporting medication errors at a tertiary care university hospital, Karachi, Pakistan

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          Administering medication is one of the high risk areas for any health professional. It is a multidisciplinary process, which begins with the doctor’s prescription, followed by review and provision by a pharmacist, and ends with preparation and administration by a nurse. Several studies have highlighted a high medication incident rate at several healthcare institutions.


          Our study design was exploratory and evaluative and used methodological triangulation. Sample size was of two types. First, a convenient sample of 1000 medication dosages to estimate the medication error (95% CI). We took another sample from subjects involved in medication usage processes such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and patients. Two sets of instruments were designed via extensive literature review: a medication tracking error form and a focus group interview questionnaire.


          Our study findings revealed 100% compliance with a computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system by physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. The main error rate was 5.5% and pharmacists contributed an higher error rate of 2.6% followed by nurses (1.1%) and physicians (1%). Major areas for improvement in error rates were identified: delay in medication delivery, lab results reviewed electronically before prescription, dispension, and administration.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Role of computerized physician order entry systems in facilitating medication errors.

          Hospital computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems are widely regarded as the technical solution to medication ordering errors, the largest identified source of preventable hospital medical error. Published studies report that CPOE reduces medication errors up to 81%. Few researchers, however, have focused on the existence or types of medication errors facilitated by CPOE. To identify and quantify the role of CPOE in facilitating prescription error risks. We performed a qualitative and quantitative study of house staff interaction with a CPOE system at a tertiary-care teaching hospital (2002-2004). We surveyed house staff (N = 261; 88% of CPOE users); conducted 5 focus groups and 32 intensive one-on-one interviews with house staff, information technology leaders, pharmacy leaders, attending physicians, and nurses; shadowed house staff and nurses; and observed them using CPOE. Participants included house staff, nurses, and hospital leaders. Examples of medication errors caused or exacerbated by the CPOE system. We found that a widely used CPOE system facilitated 22 types of medication error risks. Examples include fragmented CPOE displays that prevent a coherent view of patients' medications, pharmacy inventory displays mistaken for dosage guidelines, ignored antibiotic renewal notices placed on paper charts rather than in the CPOE system, separation of functions that facilitate double dosing and incompatible orders, and inflexible ordering formats generating wrong orders. Three quarters of the house staff reported observing each of these error risks, indicating that they occur weekly or more often. Use of multiple qualitative and survey methods identified and quantified error risks not previously considered, offering many opportunities for error reduction. In this study, we found that a leading CPOE system often facilitated medication error risks, with many reported to occur frequently. As CPOE systems are implemented, clinicians and hospitals must attend to errors that these systems cause in addition to errors that they prevent.
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            Medication errors and adverse drug events in pediatric inpatients.

             Rainu Kaushal (2001)
            Iatrogenic injuries, including medication errors, are an important problem in all hospitalized populations. However, few epidemiological data are available regarding medication errors in the pediatric inpatient setting. To assess the rates of medication errors, adverse drug events (ADEs), and potential ADEs; to compare pediatric rates with previously reported adult rates; to analyze the major types of errors; and to evaluate the potential impact of prevention strategies. Prospective cohort study of 1120 patients admitted to 2 academic institutions during 6 weeks in April and May of 1999. Medication errors, potential ADEs, and ADEs were identified by clinical staff reports and review of medication order sheets, medication administration records, and patient charts. We reviewed 10 778 medication orders and found 616 medication errors (5.7%), 115 potential ADEs (1.1%), and 26 ADEs (0.24%). Of the 26 ADEs, 5 (19%) were preventable. While the preventable ADE rate was similar to that of a previous adult hospital study, the potential ADE rate was 3 times higher. The rate of potential ADEs was significantly higher in neonates in the neonatal intensive care unit. Most potential ADEs occurred at the stage of drug ordering (79%) and involved incorrect dosing (34%), anti-infective drugs (28%), and intravenous medications (54%). Physician reviewers judged that computerized physician order entry could potentially have prevented 93% and ward-based clinical pharmacists 94% of potential ADEs. Medication errors are common in pediatric inpatient settings, and further efforts are needed to reduce them.
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              Comparison of methods for detecting medication errors in 36 hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities.

              The validity and cost-effectiveness of three methods for detecting medication errors were examined. A stratified random sample of 36 hospitals and skilled-nursing facilities in Colorado and Georgia was selected. Medication administration errors were detected by registered nurses (R.N.s), licensed practical nurses (L.P.N.s), and pharmacy technicians from these facilities using three methods: incident report review, chart review, and direct observation. Each dose evaluated was compared with the prescriber's order. Deviations were considered errors. Efficiency was measured by the time spent evaluating each dose. A pharmacist performed an independent determination of errors to assess the accuracy of each data collector. Clinical significance was judged by a panel of physicians. Observers detected 300 of 457 pharmacist-confirmed errors made on 2556 doses (11.7% error rate) compared with 17 errors detected by chart reviewers (0.7% error rate), and 1 error detected by incident report review (0.04% error rate). All errors detected involved the same 2556 doses. All chart reviewers and 7 of 10 observers achieved at least good comparability with the pharmacist's results. The mean cost of error detection per dose was $4.82 for direct observation and $0.63 for chart review. The technician was the least expensive observer at $2.87 per dose evaluated. R.N.s were the least expensive chart reviewers at $0.50 per dose. Of 457 errors, 35 (8%) were deemed potentially clinically significant; 71% of these were detected by direct observation. Direct observation was more efficient and accurate than reviewing charts and incident reports in detecting medication errors. Pharmacy technicians were more efficient and accurate than R.N.s and L.P.N.s in collecting data about medication errors.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                August 2008
                August 2008
                : 4
                : 4
                : 673-679
                [1 ]Division of Nursing Services
                [2 ]Nursing Education Services
                [3 ]Diploma Programme, Nurudin Jivraj Professorship of Nursing, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan;
                [4 ]The Ahmed Shivji Professorship of Nursing, The Aga Khan University School of Nursing, Karachi, Pakistan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Khurschid Khowaja, Division of Nursing Services, Aga Khan, University, PO Box 3500, Karachi 74800, Pakistan, Tel +92 21 486 3600, Fax +92 21 493 4294/+92 21 493 2095, Email khurshid.khowaja@ 123456aku.edu
                © 2008 Dove Medical Press Limited. All rights reserved
                Original Research


                physician, medication error rate, pharmacist, associate error rate, nurse


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