To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Medication error prevalence

Ana Belén Jiménez Muñoz (Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)
Antonio Muiño Miguez (Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)
María Paz Rodriguez Pérez (Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)
María Dolores Vigil Escribano (Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)
María Esther Durán Garcia (Pharmacy Department, Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)
and
María Sanjurjo Saez (Pharmacy Department, Hospital General, Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 23 March 2010

3088

Abstract

Purpose

Healthcare risk epidemiology identifies medication error as the commonest cause of adverse effects on patients. Medication error can occur at any phase of the complex medication process so prevalence rates need to be estimated at each drug treatment phase: prescription, transcription and administration along with their clinical repercussions. This paper aims to investigate this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

Medication errors were recorded on an ad hoc sheet and staff were observed handling medications. Recorded errors were later classified and their clinical repercussions determined by experts.

Findings

In total 757 inpatients and 5,466 drug prescriptions were studied. The prescription error rate was 4.79 percent (95 percent CI 4.21‐5.36). The most frequent error in this phase was failing to observe international prescribing standards. The highest error rate was found in transcription (14.61 percent, 95 percent CI 13.67‐15.54). Almost 1,900 dose administrations were observed. There was a 9.32 percent error rate (95 percent CI 7.98‐10.67). The commonest error in this phase was omission. Most were transcription errors, which were detected before harm was done.

Research limitations/implications

The dispensation phase is absent.

Practical implications

Errors can be reduced if they are understood. Education and training based on the study's findings can reduce medication errors.

Originality/value

The paper highlights ways to reduce errors in the medication process.

Keywords

Citation

Belén Jiménez Muñoz, A., Muiño Miguez, A., Paz Rodriguez Pérez, M., Dolores Vigil Escribano, M., Esther Durán Garcia, M. and Sanjurjo Saez, M. (2010), "Medication error prevalence", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 328-338. https://doi.org/10.1108/09526861011029389

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles