Intravenous infusion administration: a comparative study of practices and errors between the United States and England and their implications for patient safety.
Intravenous medication infusions are an important target for safety interventions. Many infused medications, such as opioids and chemotherapy, require vigilant adherence to protocol to prevent harm. Technical solutions to infusion errors such as computerized provider order entry, barcode medication administration, and smart infusion pumps have been implemented with some success. Investigators compared infusion errors in the United States, where all three technical interventions are common, to the United Kingdom, where those technical interventions are rare. Minor errors were common in each country, but only 0.8% of infusions placed patients at serious risk of harm. Although the details of errors in both countries differed in detail, rates of error and harm were similar. A WebM&M commentary described a chemotherapy infusion error that caused renal failure.