Systems Problems Among Roots of Tech-Related Medication Errors

Published Online: Friday, December 14, 2012
Follow Pharmacy_Times:
Of the medication errors related to technology use, many spring from user-related errors, according to the results of a study from the University of Hong Kong published in the International Journal of Medical Informatics.

A pharmacist analyzed medication incidents reported between 2006 and 2010 at a tertiary care hospital to identify technology related medication errors for the study. The errors were then classified as device errors and user errors.

Of the 1538 medication incidents identified, 17.1% were technology related, researchers reported. Most of the errors (98.1%) were user related, and included problems with prescription order entry into hospital computers, patient identification bar codes, infusion pump use, and computer-aided dispensing label generation.

Detection after medication was administered occurred in only 11.4% of cases, researchers noted. Problems using computer systems were the cause for 68.1% of technology-related errors. Improper procedures accounted for 22.1% of errors.

Researchers compiled data from medication incident reports, which represent only a portion of all errors. The study authors recommend improving medication systems, awareness, training, and monitoring to reduce problems.

Related Articles
A new study finds that parents who used teaspoon or tablespoon units to measure medication were twice as likely to make an error as those who used milliliters.
An electronic tool that encouraged active medication reconciliation upon admission to the hospital reduced the rate of medication reconciliation errors by 58%, according to the results of a study.
A review of 2 examples of new failure modes that may be introduced by poorly designed or implemented technology reported to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices.
Use of a barcode-assisted medication administration system led to a significant increase in overall medication accuracy in most hospital settings, according to the results of a new study.
Latest Issues
$auto_registration$