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Evaluation of Medication Errors in a Tertiary Care Hospital of a Low- to Middle-Income Country

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posted on 2021-10-14, 04:56 authored by Ashwaghosha Parthasarathi, Rahul Krishna PuvvadaRahul Krishna Puvvada, Himanshu Patel, Pooja Bhandari, Sagar Nagpal
Introduction Medication errors (MEs) are a major public health concern as they are detrimental to patient safety, compromise patients' confidence in the healthcare system, increase healthcare costs, and adversely affect the patient's quality of life. This is especially true in low to middle-income countries where the significance of MEs is largely undervalued. This study aims to investigate the prevalence of MEs and analyze the causes, medicines involved, reporting, and severity of MEs in a tertiary care setting. Methods A prospective observational study was conducted from March 2020 to February 2021 in a tertiary care teaching hospital in South India. The data was collected after reviewing patient medical records, by interviewing patients and healthcare professionals. National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) index was used to evaluate MEs. Results A total of 557 MEs were identified from 3798 patients with a prevalence of 14.6%. Prescribing errors were the most commonly observed ME followed by errors related to documentation of medical records, administration-related errors, and dispensing errors. Lack of time for documentation of medication records, shift change and work overload were common causes of MEs. The majority of MEs were category A and B of the NCC MERP severity index. Conclusion Antibiotics and proton pump inhibitors were the most common medicines involved in MEs. Prescribing and documentation errors were most prevalent. Implementation of systems like strict adherence to treatment guidelines, computerized provider order entry (CPOE), barcode medication administration, and closed-loop electronic medication management systems may greatly help reduce MEs. All healthcare institutions should undertake routine audits to determine the prevalence and causes of medication errors.


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Cureus, Inc.



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© Copyright 2021 Parthasarathi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.