[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Medication errors are currently a worldwide public health issue and it is one of the most serious prescription errors. The objective of the study was to evaluate the practice of prescribing high-alert medications and its association with the prevalence of medication errors in hospital settings.
A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted including 4,026 prescription order forms of high-alert medications. There were evaluated all prescriptions received at the pharmacy of a reference hospital in the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, over a 30-day period in 2001. Prescription were checked for legibility, patient name, type of prescription, date, handwriting or writing, prescriber identification, drug prescribed, and use of abbreviations. Prescription errors were classified as writing or decision errors and how the type of prescription affected the occurrence of errors was assessed.
Most prescriptions were handwritten (45.7%). In 47.0% of handwritten, mixed and pre-typed prescriptions had patient name errors; the prescriber name was difficult to identify in 33.7%; 19.3% of them were hardly legible or illegible. Of a total of 7,148 high-alert drugs prescribed, 3,177 errors were found, and the most frequent one was missing information (86.5%). Errors occurred mostly in prescriptions of heparin, phentanyl, and midazolam. Intensive care and neurology units had the highest number of errors per prescription. Non-standard abbreviations were frequent and widespread. Overall it was estimated 3.3 errors per prescription order form. Pre-typed prescriptions were less likely to have errors compared to mixed or handwritten prescriptions.
The study results show there is a need for standardizing the prescription process and eliminating handwritten prescriptions. The use of pre-typed or edited prescriptions may reduce errors associated to high-alert medications.
Revista de saude publica 05/2009; 43(3):490-8. · 1.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the dispensing error rate and to identify factors associated with them, and to propose prevention actions.
A cross-sectional study focusing on the occurrence of dispensing errors in a general hospital in Belo Horizonte that uses a mixed system (a combination of multidose and unit dose systems) of collective and individualized dosing.
A total of 422 prescription order forms were analyzed, registering 81.8% with at least 1 dispensing error. Opportunities for errors were higher in the pretyped prescription order forms (odds ratio = 4.5; P <.001), in those with 9 or more drugs (odds ratio = 4.0; P <.001), and with those for injectable drugs (odds ratio = 5.0; P <.001). One of the teams of professionals had a higher chance of errors (odds ratio = 2.0; P =.02). A multivariate analysis ratified these results.
The dispensing system at the pharmacy can produce many latent failures and does not have an adequate control; it has several conditions that predispose it to the occurrence of errors, contributing to the high rate reported.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pharmacies permeate and interconnect various actions developed in different sectors within the complex process of the use of drugs in a hospital. Dispensing failures mean that a breach has occurred in one of the last safety links in the use of drugs. Although most failures do not harm patients, their existence suggests fragility in the process and indicates an increased risk of severe accidents. Present concepts on drug-related incidents may be classified as side effects, adverse effects, and medication errors. Among these are dispensing errors, usually associated with poor safety and inefficient dispensing systems. Factors associated with dispensing errors may be communication failures, problems related to package labels, work overload, the physical structure of the working environment, distraction and interruption, the use of incorrect and outdated information sources and the lack of patient knowledge and education about the drugs they use. So called banal dispensing errors reach significant epidemiological levels. The purpose of this paper, which is part of a study on the occurrence of dispensing errors in the pharmacy of a large hospital, is to review the main concepts that guide studies on adverse effects and to provide an update on dispensing errors.