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Prevalence of medication errors in primary health care at Bahrain Defence Force Hospital – prescription-based study

Authors Aljasmi F, Almalood F, Al Ansari A

Received 1 August 2017

Accepted for publication 14 December 2017

Published 7 February 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 1—7

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DHPS.S147994

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Rajender Aparasu


Fatema Aljasmi,1 Fatema Almalood,1 Ahmed Al Ansari2

1Department of Primary Health Care, 2Department of Training and Education, Bahrain Defence Force Hospital, West Riffa, Kingdom of Bahrain

Background: One of the important activities that physicians – particularly general ­practitioners – perform is prescribing. It occurs in most health care facilities and especially in primary health care (PHC) settings.
Objectives: This study aims to determine what types of prescribing errors are made in PHC at Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) Hospital, and how common they are.
Methods: This was a retrospective study of data from PHC at BDF Hospital. The data consisted of 379 prescriptions randomly selected from the pharmacy between March and May 2013, and errors in the prescriptions were classified into five types: major omission, minor omission, commission, integration, and skill-related errors.
Results: Of the total prescriptions, 54.4% (N=206) were given to male patients and 45.6% (N=173) to female patients; 24.8% were given to patients under the age of 10 years. On average, there were 2.6 drugs per prescription. In the prescriptions, 8.7% of drugs were prescribed by their generic names, and 28% (N=106) of prescriptions included an antibiotic. Out of the 379 prescriptions, 228 had an error, and 44.3% (N=439) of the 992 prescribed drugs contained errors. The proportions of errors were as follows: 9.9% (N=38) were minor omission errors; 73.6% (N=323) were major omission errors; 9.3% (N=41) were commission errors; and 17.1% (N=75) were skill-related errors.
Conclusion: This study provides awareness of the presence of prescription errors and frequency of the different types of errors that exist in this hospital. Understanding the different types of errors could help future studies explore the causes of specific errors and develop interventions to reduce them. Further research should be conducted to understand the causes of these errors and demonstrate whether the introduction of electronic prescriptions has an effect on patient outcomes.

Keywords: medical errors, general practice, prescribing errors, omission errors, commission errors, rational drug use

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