[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hospital pharmacies dispense large numbers of medication doses for hospitalized patients. A study was conducted at an academic tertiary care hospital to characterize the incidence and severity of medication dispensing errors in a hospital pharmacy.
Direct observation of dispensing processes was undertaken to determine presence of errors with review by a physician panel to determine severity.
A total of 140,755 medication doses filled by pharmacy technicians were observed during a seven-month period, and 3.6% (5075) contalned errors. The hospital pharmacist detected only 79% of these errors during routine verification; thus, 0.75% of doses filled would have left the phannacy with undetected errors. Overall, 23.5% of undetected errors were potential adverse drug events (ADEs), of which 28% were serious and 0.8% were life threatening. The most common potential ADEs were incorrect medications (36%), incorrect strength (35%), and incorrect dosage form (21%).
Given the volume of medications dispensed, even a low rate of drug distribution process translates into a large number of errors with potential to harm patients. Pharmacy distribution systems require further process redesign to achieve the highest possible level of safety and reliability.
Joint Commission journal on quality and patient safety / Joint Commission Resources 03/2006; 32(2):73-80.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We performed a direct observation prepost study to evaluate the impact of barcode technology on medication dispensing errors and potential adverse drug events in the pharmacy of a tertiary-academic medical center. We found that barcode technology significantly reduced the rate of target dispensing errors leaving the pharmacy by 85%, from 0.37% to 0.06%. The rate of potential adverse drug events (ADEs) due to dispensing errors was also significantly reduced by 63%, from 0.19%to 0.069%. In a 735-bed hospital where 6 million doses of medications are dispensed per year, this technology is expected to prevent about 13,000 dispensing errors and 6,000 potential ADEs per year.