Journal Article

Prevalence, nature, severity and risk factors for prescribing errors in hospital inpatients: prospective study in 20 UK hospitals.

Ashcroft DM; Lewis PJ; Tully MP; Farragher TM; Taylor D; Wass V; Williams SD; Dornan T.

Medication prescribing errors are common in hospitals, and previous research has suggested junior doctors may make the most mistakes. In this prospective study, pharmacists in 20 hospitals in the United Kingdom reviewed medication orders and prescribing errors. More than 120,000 orders were reviewed over the 7-day study period, and prescribing errors were found in 8.8% of medication orders. Doctors in their first 2 years of training were more than twice as likely to make prescribing errors compared to doctors that had completed training. However, many of these errors were minor and the rates of serious or potentially fatal errors did not differ between trainees and senior physicians, suggesting that interventions should focus on all physicians. A 2014 AHRQ PSNet Annual Perspective reviewed current trends to address patient safety in medical education.