Administration Errors Most Common Type of Error During Medication Process

A study by the ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization found errors during the administration phase of the medication process were the most common type of medication error.

To assess the nature of common medication errors, ECRI Institute asked participating organizations in its PSO to submit medication events over a five-week period. Participating organizations submitted nearly 700 medication events from April 15, 2011 to May 20, 2011. An analysis of these errors showed a majority of errors occurred during the administration stage of the medication process. Of 320 administration errors, more than one third (36.9 percent) involved intravenous errors.


In response, ECRI PSO compiled a list of strategies to help healthcare providers reduce the risk of medication administration, including IV infusions:

•    Adopt infusion pumps with dose error reduction systems.
•    Standardize infusion pumps in the organization to maintain high user familiarity.
•    Limit the number of concentrations available for infusion solutions.
•    Require pharmacy preparation of IV solutions and limit nurse preparation of IV solutions to emergency situations.

The PSO also suggested system-based strategies to improve medication safety, such as leadership support, evaluation of medication administration, risk assessment and more.

Related Articles on Medication Safety:

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AMA Blasts FDA Plan to Make Prescription Drugs OTC

FDA Announces Fewer Drug Shortages This Year Compared to Last

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