Background Errors in discharge prescriptions are problematic. When hospital pharmacists write discharge prescriptions improvements are seen in the quality and efficiency of discharge. There is limited information on the incidence of errors in pharmacists’ medication orders. Objective To investigate the extent and clinical significance of errors in pharmacist-written discharge medication orders. Setting 1000-bed teaching hospital in London, UK. Method Pharmacists in this London hospital routinely write discharge medication orders as part of the clinical pharmacy service. Convenient days, based on researcher availability, between October 2013 and January 2014 were selected. Pre-registration pharmacists reviewed all discharge medication orders written by pharmacists on these days and identified discrepancies between the medication history, inpatient chart, patient records and discharge summary. A senior clinical pharmacist confirmed the presence of an error. Each error was assigned a potential clinical significance rating (based on the NCCMERP scale) by a physician and an independent senior clinical pharmacist, working separately. Main outcome measure Incidence of errors in pharmacist-written discharge medication orders. Results 509 prescriptions, written by 51 pharmacists, containing 4258 discharge medication orders were assessed (8.4 orders per prescription). Ten prescriptions (2%), contained a total of ten erroneous orders (order error rate—0.2%). The pharmacist considered that one error had the potential to cause temporary harm (0.02% of all orders). The physician did not rate any of the errors with the potential to cause harm. Conclusion The incidence of errors in pharmacists’ discharge medication orders was low. The quality, safety and policy implications of pharmacists routinely writing discharge medication orders should be further explored.
International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2017
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