Medication prescribing errors in the intensive care unit of Jimma University Specialized Hospital, Southwest Ethiopia
Asrat Agalu1, Yemane Ayele2, Worku Bedada2, Mirkuzie Woldie2
1Wollo University, College of Health Sciences, Department of Pharmacy, Dessie, Ethiopia; 2Jimma University, College of Public Health and Medical Sciences, Jimma, Ethiopia
Background: A number of studies indicated that prescribing errors in the intensive care unit (ICU) are frequent and lead to patient morbidity and mortality, increased length of stay, and substantial extra costs. In Ethiopia, the prevalence of medication prescribing errors in the ICU has not previously been studied.
Objective: To assess medication prescribing errors in the ICU of Jimma University Specialized Hospital (JUSH), Southwest Ethiopia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in the ICU of Jimma University Specialized Hospital from February 7 to April 15, 2011. All medication-prescribing interventions by physicians during the study period were included in the study. Data regarding prescribing interventions were collected from patient cards and medication charts. Prescribing errors were determined by comparing prescribed drugs with standard treatment guidelines, textbooks, handbooks, and software. Descriptive statistics were generated to meet the study objective.
Results: The prevalence of medication prescribing errors in the ICU of Jimma University Specialized Hospital was 209/398 (52.5%). Common prescribing errors were using the wrong combinations of drugs (25.7%), wrong frequency (15.5%), and wrong dose (15.1%). Errors associated with antibiotics represented a major part of the medication prescribing errors (32.5%).
Conclusion: Medication errors at the prescribing phase were highly prevalent in the ICU of Jimma University Specialized Hospital. Health care providers need to establish a system which can support the prescribing physicians to ensure appropriate medication prescribing practices.
Keywords: medication error, prescribing error, intensive care unit
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