Impact of a comprehensive safety initiative on patient-controlled analgesia errors.
Patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) is generally quite safe, but prior studies have shown that errors associated with PCA frequently result in patient harm. Due to several critical incidents associated with PCA errors, this Canadian hospital system implemented a multifaceted safety program including use of smart infusion pumps, standardized order sets, and mandatory error reporting. These interventions resulted in a significant reduction in PCA errors, chiefly by reducing pump programming errors (the most common type of error before the intervention). A PCA error with devastating clinical consequences is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M commentary.