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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Are interventions to reduce interruptions and errors during medication administration effective?: a systematic review.

Raban MZ, Westbrook JI. BMJ quality & safety. 2014;23:414-21.

Interruptions are inevitable in the busy clinical environment and may contribute to preventable harm, particularly if they occur during medication administration. This systematic review attempted to synthesize research regarding the effectiveness of interventions that have been tested to limit interruptions during medication administration. These efforts included sterile cockpit approaches derived from the aviation industry. Although some interventions did reduce interruption rates, medication error rates were largely unaffected and the literature has significant methodological flaws. The authors caution that hospitals should not attempt to simply limit interruptions, because there is no clear evidence that doing so will prevent medication errors and some interruptions are necessary for patient care.