Medication Errors in an Emergency Department in a Large Teaching Hospital in Tehran

Document Type: Research article

Authors

1 1- Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. 2- School of Pharmacy, Kerman Medical University, Kerman, Iran.

2 Department of Health Management and Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

3 Pharmaceutical Care Department, Dr. Shariati Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran.

4 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

5 1- Department of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. 2- Research Center for Rational Use of Drugs, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Abstract

Medication errors have important effects on increased length of hospitalization, increased
mortality and costs. We assessed the incidence of medication errors and characterize the error
types in an emergency department in a large teaching hospital in Tehran. We also investigated
the effect of Emergency Department pharmacists on patient safety with regard to recovery
of potentially harmful medication errors. The study was conducted in the 24 bed emergency
department from February to March, 2010 at a 600-bed teaching hospital. Two hospital
pharmacists and two clinical pharmacy residents observed care provision and collected data on
medication errors. Demographic data, type of medication error, the recorded stage of error, date
and time of occurrence and report, who made the error, probability of error were recorded from
medical records. We used chi-squared and independent sample t- tests for analyzing the data.
We recorded 203 medication errors during 180 hours. The incidence of medication errors
was 50.5% at various levels in the emergency department.
 
 
Significant difference in age means
 
 
was seen between the patients with and without medication errors.
 
 
Seventy four point nine
 
percent of errors were recorded as definitely an error. Most recorded errors were made by
nurses (44.5%) and occurred in administrating stage (63.6%). Given that the rate of the errors
was relatively high, it seems that the presence of clinical pharmacist can be beneficial.

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