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Frequency of medication errors in an emergency department of a large teaching hospital in southern Iran

Authors Vazin A, Zamani Z, Hatam N

Received 1 October 2014

Accepted for publication 24 October 2014

Published 11 December 2014 Volume 2014:6 Pages 179—184

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S75223

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou


Afsaneh Vazin,1 Zahra Zamani,1 Nahid Hatam2

1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, 2School of Management and Medical Information Sciences, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract: This study was conducted with the purpose of determining the frequency of medication errors (MEs) occurring in tertiary care emergency department (ED) of a large academic hospital in Iran. The incidence of MEs was determined through the disguised direct observation method conducted by a trained observer. A total of 1,031 medication doses administered to 202 patients admitted to the tertiary care ED were observed over a course of 54 6-hour shifts. Following collection of the data and analysis of the errors with the assistance of a clinical pharmacist, frequency of errors in the different stages was reported and analyzed in SPSS-21 software. For the 202 patients and the 1,031 medication doses evaluated in the present study, 707 (68.5%) MEs were recorded in total. In other words, 3.5 errors per patient and almost 0.69 errors per medication are reported to have occurred, with the highest frequency of errors pertaining to cardiovascular (27.2%) and antimicrobial (23.6%) medications. The highest rate of errors occurred during the administration phase of the medication use process with a share of 37.6%, followed by errors of prescription and transcription with a share of 21.1% and 10% of errors, respectively. Omission (7.6%) and wrong time error (4.4%) were the most frequent administration errors. The less-experienced nurses (P=0.04), higher patient-to-nurse ratio (P=0.017), and the morning shifts (P=0.035) were positively related to administration errors. Administration errors marked the highest share of MEs occurring in the different medication use processes. Increasing the number of nurses and employing the more experienced of them in EDs can help reduce nursing errors. Addressing the shortcomings with further research should result in reduction of MEs in EDs.

Keywords: medication errors, emergency department, frequency, patient safety

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