Systems Problems Among Roots of Tech-Related Medication Errors

Published Online: Friday, December 14, 2012
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.

Latest Articles
Having trouble getting your hands on FluMist?
Novartis is paying $390 million to settle charges that it paid kickbacks to pharmacies to encourage drug sales.
Anxiety sensitivity has been linked to more debilitating asthma symptoms and greater functional limitations.
Nasal corticosteroid sprays do not seem to be viable treatments for the common cold.
Latest Issues