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ED overcrowding is associated with an increased frequency of medication errors.

Kulstad EB, Sikka R, Sweis RT, et al. ED overcrowding is associated with an increased frequency of medication errors. Am J Emerg Med. 2010;28(3):304-309. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2008.12.014.

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March 31, 2010
Kulstad EB, Sikka R, Sweis RT, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2010;28(3):304-309.

The Institute of Medicine found that hospital-based emergency care was "at the breaking point" in a seminal 2006 report, in which emergency department (ED) overcrowding was identified as a major patient safety concern. Prior studies have also found that medication errors are a significant problem in the ED. This study sought to investigate the relationship between these two safety concerns. Detailed review of medication orders by pharmacists revealed a significant correlation between ED crowding and the frequency of medication errors. Overcrowding was one factor cited as a major barrier to implementing the National Patient Safety Goals for medication safety in the ED, and a medication error near miss in a busy ED is vividly illustrated in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.

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Kulstad EB, Sikka R, Sweis RT, et al. ED overcrowding is associated with an increased frequency of medication errors. Am J Emerg Med. 2010;28(3):304-309. doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2008.12.014.