Assessing the impact of an educational program on decreasing prescribing errors at a university hospital.

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Assessing the impact of an educational program on decreasing prescribing errors at a university hospital.

J Hosp Med. 2009 Feb 13;4(2):97-101

Authors: Peeters MJ, Pinto SL

BACKGROUND:: Several complex and costly interventions reduce medication errors. Little exists on the effectiveness of providing education and feedback to institutional clinicians as a means of reducing errors. OBJECTIVE:: To determine the impact on prescribing errors of a pharmacist-led educational intervention. DESIGN:: Prospective, interrupted time series study. SETTING:: This study was conducted among internal medicine residents at the 320-bed University of Toledo Medical Center. INTERVENTION:: The educational intervention was conducted during a 6-month period beginning in November 2006. The intervention included an initial hour-long lecture followed by biweekly and then monthly discussions that used timely, institution-specific examples of prescribing errors. MEASUREMENTS:: Data were collected at 5 time points: month 0 (preintervention period); months 1, 3, and 6 (intervention period); and month 7 (postintervention period). Errors were identified, transcribed, coded, and entered into a database. The primary outcome was the frequency of prescribing errors during each period. A Bonferroni-adjusted chi-square analysis was conducted with an a priori experiment-wise alpha of 0.05. RESULTS:: A reduction in prescribing errors of 33% following the first intervention month and a mean 26% reduction during the study period were observed (P < 0.0025). The frequencies of preintervention and postintervention errors did not differ significantly. CONCLUSIONS:: A straightforward educational intervention reduced prescribing errors during the period of active intervention, but this effect was not sustained. Ongoing communication and education about institution-specific medication errors appear warranted. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2009;4:97-101. (c) 2009 Society of Hospital Medicine.

PMID: 19219923 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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