Administration of drugs is linked to adverse incidents

Administration of drugs is linked to adverse incidents

By Sandra Ryan
A new study of medication safety in four Irish hospitals, carried out by six hospital pharmacists, has revealed that drug administration was responsible for almost 50 per cent of adverse incidents resulting in patient harm.This is the first time Irish data on medication safety has been pooled and published. Analysis and improvements to decrease medication errors or adverse incidents are done separately in individual hospitals, and there is no national co-ordination of data.

The four hospitals studied were Tallaght Hospital, Dublin, the Mater Private Hospital, Dublin, Portiuncula Hospital in Galway and St John’s Hospital in Limerick. They were each given a Canadian medication safety software package called Analyze-ERR to use.

The pharmacists, including Mr Tim Delaney from Tallaght Hospital, found there were 510 medication safety incidents recorded, 93 per cent of which did not result in patient harm. Over 90 drugs were implicated in near miss reports, and enoxaparin, diclofenac, morphine, and aspirin were among the most common.

They also recorded the stages at which the incidents occurred, and found that while prescribing was responsible for over 50 per cent of near miss reports, it accounted for just 20 per cent of incidents resulting in patient harm.

The most frequent types of incident reported were wrong dose, wrong frequency/rate and dose omission.

The researchers state their work was done over a short time period with limited resources, and suggest that further data collection and analysis would be useful.

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