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Manias E, Street M, Lowe G, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2021;21:1025.
This study explored associations between person-related (e.g., individual responsible for medication error), environment-related (e.g., transitions of care), and communication-related (e.g., misreading of medication order) medication errors in two Australian hospitals. The authors recommend that improved communication regarding medications with patients and families could reduce medication errors associated with possible or probable harm.
Morse KE, Chadwick WA, Paul W, et al. Pediatr Qual Saf. 2021;6:e436.
The goal of medication reconciliation is to identify medication inconsistencies at hospital discharge. This study identified six common medication reconciliation errors at discharge – duplication, missing route, missing dose, missing frequency, unlisted medication, and “see instructions” errors. The authors evaluated the prevalence of these errors at two pediatric hospitals and found that duplication and “see instructions” errors were most common. 

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. October 7, 2021;26(20):1-4.

Production pressure and low staff coverage can result in medication mistakes in community pharmacies. This article shares reported vaccine errors and factors contributing to mistaken administration of flu and COVID vaccines. Storage, staffing and collaboration strategies are shared to protect against vaccine mistakes.
Stolldorf DP, Ridner SH, Vogus TJ, et al. Implement Sci Commun. 2021;2:63.
Implementing effective interventions supporting medication reconciliation is an ongoing challenge. Using qualitative data, the authors explored how different hospitals implemented one evidence-based medication reconciliation toolkit. Thematic analyses suggest that the most commonly used implementation strategies included restructuring (e.g., altered staffing, equipment, data systems); quality management tools (e.g., audit and feedback, advisory boards); thorough planning and preparing for implementation; and education and training with stakeholders.

A 93-year-old man on warfarin with chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and a ventricular assist device (VAD) was admitted to the hospital upon referral from the VAD team due to an elevated internal normalized ratio (INR) of 13.4. During medication review, the hospital team found that his prescribed warfarin dose was 4 mg daily on Mondays and Fridays and 3 mg daily on all other days of the week; this prescription was filled with 1 mg tablets. However, his medication list also included an old prescription for 5 mg tablets.

This case involves a 65-year-old woman with ongoing nausea and vomiting after an uncomplicated hernia repair who was mistakenly prescribed topiramate (brand name Topamax, an anticonvulsant and nerve pain medication) instead of trimethobenzamide (brand name Tigan, an antiemetic) by the outpatient pharmacy.

Stolldorf DP, Mixon AS, Auerbach AD, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2020;77:1135-1143.
This mixed-methods study assessed the barriers and facilitators to hospitals’ implementation of the MARQUIS toolkit, which supports hospitals in developing medication reconciliation programs. Leadership who responded to the survey/interview expressed limited institutional budgetary and hiring support, but hospitals were able to implement and sustain the toolkit by shifting staff responsibilities, adding pharmacy staff, and using a range of implementation strategies (e.g., educational tools for staff, EHR templates).
A 55-year old woman became unarousable with low oxygen saturation as a result of multiple intravenous benzodiazepine doses given overnight. The benzodiazepine was ordered following a seizure in the intensive care unit (ICU) and was not revised or discontinued upon transfer to the floor; several doses were given for different indications - anxiety and insomnia.
Härkänen M, Turunen H, Vehviläinen-Julkunen K. J Patient Saf. 2020;16.
This study compared medication errors detected using incident reports, the Global Trigger Tool method, and direct observations of patient records. Incident reports and the Global Trigger Tool more commonly identified medication errors likely to cause harm. Omission errors were commonly identified by all three methods, but identification of other errors varied. For example, incident reports most commonly identified wrong dose and wrong time errors. The contributing factors also varied by method, but in general, communication issues and human factors were the most common contributors.
After undergoing a complete atrioventricular canal defect repair, an infant with trisomy 21 was transferred to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) was ordered due to low cardiac output. When the TPN order expired, it was not reordered in time for cross-checking by the dietician and pediatric pharmacist and the replacement TPN order was mistakenly entered to include sodium chloride 77 mEq/100 mL, a ten-fold higher concentration than intended.
Discharge planning is an essential part of transitions of care, during which patients are often at a higher risk for adverse events and harm. It is important for all healthcare providers to identify risk factors prior to transitioning patients and put plans in place as part of the discharge plan to mitigate harm. Effective discharge planning between the discharging and accepting healthcare teams can help reduce adverse events.
A 54-year-old man was found unconscious at home with multiple empty bottles of alcoholic beverages nearby and was brought to the emergency department by his family members. He was confused and severely hyponatremic, so he was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). His hospital stay was complicated by an error in the administration of hypertonic saline.
Ardenne M, Reitnauer PG. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 1975;25:1369-79.
This special issue reviews research initiatives exploring persistent challenges associated with the prescription drug misuse epidemic and strategies to monitor and reduce its persistence. Topics covered include the role of the pharmacist in addressing opioid misuse, physician–pharmacist collaboration to improve pain management, and community pharmacy monitoring of opioid dispensing.
Pontefract SK, Coleman JJ, Vallance HK, et al. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0207450.
The unintended consequences of computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support are well-described. Researchers conducted focus groups with pharmacists and physicians at two acute care hospitals in England and found that both computerized provider order entry and clinical decision support increased different aspects of workload for pharmacists and providers while electronic messaging capability yielded some improvements in interprofessional communication.
Schiff G, Mirica MM, Dhavle AA, et al. Health Aff (Millwood). 2018;37:1877-1883.
Although electronic prescribing has been shown to reduce prescribing errors, the impact on adverse drug events remains less certain. Overriding of drug–drug interaction alerts and inclusion of free-text notes that contain inaccurate information within electronic prescriptions suggests that safe prescribing requires more than an electronic system. To improve the safety of electronic prescribing, the authors make several broad recommendations. They suggest including drug indications on prescriptions, ensuring a readily available and accurate medication list, notifying pharmacies when previously prescribed medications are canceled, using standard prescription instructions, improving decision support, and promoting consideration of nondrug options. A previous WebM&M commentary discussed an incident involving an electronic prescribing error. The Moore Foundation provides free access to this article.
Triller D, Myrka A, Gassler J, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2018;44:630-640.
Patients prescribed high-risk medications, including anticoagulants, are at increased risk for adverse drug events and may be particularly vulnerable during care transitions. This study describes how a multidisciplinary panel of anticoagulation experts used an iterative consensus-building process to determine what information should be communicated to relevant providers for all patients on anticoagulation undergoing a transition in care.
Bjerre LM, Parlow S, de Launay D, et al. BMJ Open. 2018;8:e020150.
In this cross-sectional study, researchers evaluated medication safety letters issued by Health Canada, the United States Food and Drug Administration, and the United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency over a 4-year period to evaluate consistency of structure and content as well as timing and commonality of subject matter. They found significant differences in the medication safety letters issued by all three agencies with regard to both the timing and the focus. The authors suggest that better coordination across these bodies might improve patient safety.
Pevnick JM, Shane R, Schnipper JL. BMJ Qual Saf. 2016;25:726-730.
Medication reconciliation has demonstrated safety improvement in both inpatient and ambulatory settings. This commentary discusses barriers to reliably implementing medication reconciliation and attributes those challenges to the complexity of health care delivery and the costs involved in developing and sustaining a working process.