A prospective observational study of medication errors in general medicine department in a tertiary care hospital.

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A prospective observational study of medication errors in general medicine department in a tertiary care hospital.

Drug Metabol Drug Interact. 2013;28(1):13-21

Authors: Karthikeyan M, Lalitha D

BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to evaluate the incidence of medication error and to categorize medication error in the general medicine department of a tertiary hospital. Thus, the study aims to promote safety in medication use and ensure quality in the healthcare service by effective utilization of a clinical pharmacist. The study objective was to detect and categorize medication errors, to ensure rational drug use in the hospital, to make recommendations for doctors, nurses, and patients to promote safe use of medications.
METHODS: The study was conducted in inpatients in the general medicine department of a 350-bed multispecialty tertiary care referral hospital located in South India. It is a prospective observational study where data were collected using a data collection form which included patient demographic details, drug details, and criteria for identifying errors, its categorization, and the details of drugs involved in errors. Complete details of patients and medications were recorded through a review of medication charts, reviewing prescriptions, visiting nursing stations and the pharmacy, and personal interviews with patients and bystanders. Collected details were then evaluated to detect the prescribing, administration, dispensing error and drug interactions and were then recorded, suggesting necessary steps to prevent recurrence of reported medication errors.
RESULTS: The study was conducted in 311 patients, where 168 were males (54%) and 143 were females (46%). Out of 311 cases, 36 cases (11.57%) had at least one error. The total number of errors found was 67, among which administration errors (28.35%) were the most frequently occurring types of errors, which was followed by prescribing errors (22.38%), dispensing errors (8.9%) and drug interaction, patient errors and other types of errors collectively contributed to the remaining portion. A total of 2742 medications were prescribed to 106 patients and the average number of medications per patient was found to be 8.8. The involvement of a particular medication class to the medication errors showed that the antimicrobial agents were contributing a maximum of (26.8%), which was followed by cardiovascular agents (20.8%). In third place were nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (11.9%) followed very closely by central nervous system drugs and gastrointestinal drugs (7.4%). The total percentage of drug interaction was 40.29%. Most interactions were of moderate type belonging to category C of medication errors.
CONCLUSIONS: The study helps to assess the incidence of medication error and to categorize medication error. In the general medicine department, the majority of patients were geriatrics who are more prone to errors, thus guidelines for safe use of medications in geriatrics should be strictly implemented to prevent medication errors. Antimicrobials are the major class of drugs involved in medication errors, thus this study recommends strict implementations of antibiotic policy in the hospital.

PMID: 23314531 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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