Understanding medication safety involving patient transfer from intensive care to hospital ward: a qualitative sociotechnical factor study

Link to article at PubMed

BMJ Open. 2023 May 2;13(5):e066757. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066757.


OBJECTIVE: To understand the sociotechnical factors affecting medication safety when intensive care patients are transferred to a hospital ward. Consideration of these medication safety factors would provide a theoretical basis, on which future interventions can be developed and evaluated to improve patient care.

DESIGN: Qualitative study using semistructured interviews of intensive care and hospital ward-based healthcare professionals. Transcripts were anonymised prior to thematic analysis using the London Protocol and Systems Engineering in Patient Safety V.3.0 model frameworks.

SETTING: Four north of England National Health Service hospitals. All hospitals used electronic prescribing in intensive care and hospital ward settings.

PARTICIPANTS: Intensive care and hospital ward healthcare professionals (intensive care medical staff, advanced practitioners, pharmacists and outreach team members; ward-based medical staff and clinical pharmacists).

RESULTS: Twenty-two healthcare professionals were interviewed. We identified 13 factors within five broad themes, describing the interactions that most strongly influenced the performance of the intensive care to hospital ward system interface. The themes were: Complexity of process performance and interactions; Time pressures and considerations; Communication processes and challenges; Technology and systems and Beliefs about consequences for the patient and organisation.

CONCLUSIONS: The complexity of the interactions on the system performance and time dependency was clear. We make several recommendations for policy change and further research based on improving: availability of hospital-wide integrated and functional electronic prescribing systems, patient flow systems, sufficient multiprofessional critical care staffing, knowledge and skills of staff, team performance, communication and collaboration and patient and family engagement.

PMID:37130684 | DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2022-066757

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