The AHRQ PSNet Collection comprises an extensive selection of resources relevant to the patient safety community. These resources come in a variety of formats, including literature, research, tools, and Web sites. Resources are identified using the National Library of Medicine’s Medline database, various news and content aggregators, and the expertise of the AHRQ PSNet editorial and technical teams.
Wimmer S, Toni I, Botzenhardt S, et al. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2023;11:e01092.
Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems can prevent medication ordering and dispensing errors. This pre-post study compared medication safety outcomes for paper-based prescribing versus CPOE-based prescribing among pediatric patients at one German hospital. The researchers found that CPOE implementation resulted in fewer potentially harmful medication errors.
Alqenae FA, Steinke DT, Carson-Stevens A, et al. Ther Adv Drug Saf. 2023;14:204209862311543.
Medication errors and adverse drug events (ADE) are unfortunately common at hospital discharge. This study used the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) in England and Wales to identify contributing causes to medication errors and ADE. Patients over 65 were the most common age group and, of incidents with a stated level of harm, most did not result in any harm. Overall, most incidents occurred at the prescribing stage, but varied by patient age group. Most contributory factors were organizational (e.g., continuity of care between provider types), followed by staff, patient, and equipment factors.
Feather C, Appelbaum N, Darzi A, et al. BMJ Qual Saf. 2023;32:357–368.
Requiring a prescriber to include an indication for a medication can reduce the risk of wrong-patient orders and improve antimicrobial and opioid stewardship. This review identified 21 studies describing interventions to encourage prescribers to include indications for medications. In addition to patient safety benefits, several risks and drawbacks were uncovered, such as potential loss of patient privacy or alert fatigue.
Value as an element of patient safety is emerging as an approach to prioritize and evaluate improvement actions. This library highlights resources that explore the business case for cost effective, efficient and impactful efforts to reduce medical errors.
Rodgers S, Taylor AC, Roberts SA, et al. PLoS Med. 2022;19:e1004133.
Previous research found that a pharmacist-led information technology intervention (PINCER) reduced dangerous prescribing (i.e., medication monitoring and drug-disease errors) among a subset of primary care practices in the United Kingdom (UK). This longitudinal analysis examined the impact of the PINCER intervention after implementation across a large proportion of general practices in one region in the UK. Researchers found the PINCER intervention decreased dangerous prescribing by 17% and 15% at 6-month and 12-month follow-ups, particularly among dangerous prescribing related to gastrointestinal bleeding.
Sheikh A, Coleman JJ, Chuter A, et al. Programme Grants Appl Res. 2022;10:1-196.
Electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) is an established medication error reduction mechanism. This review analyzed experiences in the United Kingdom to understand strengths and weaknesses in e-prescribing. The work concluded that e-prescribing did improve safety in the UK and that the implementation and use of the system was a complex endeavor. The effort produced an accompanying toolkit to assist organizations in e-prescribing system decision making.
Hindmarsh J, Holden K. Int J Med Inform. 2022;163:104777.
Computerized provider order entry has become standard practice for most medication ordering. This article reports on the safety and efficiency of ordering mixed-drug infusions before and after implementation of electronic prescribing. After implementation, rates of prescription errors, time to process discharge orders, and time between prescription and administration all decreased.
Colombini N, Abbes M, Cherpin A, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2022;160:104703.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) refers to a system in which clinicians directly place orders electronically to be sent to the receiver (e.g., pharmacist). This French hospital analyzed hospital discharge orders (HDO) over a six-month period to evaluate the use rate of CPOE, prescription concordance between CPOE-edited HDO, exit prescriptions transcribed in the discharge summary, and prescribing error rate. Use of CPOE and pharmacist intervention reduced prescribing errors of hospital discharge orders.
Heed J, Klein S, Slee A, et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2022;88:3351-3359.
Hospitals in the US can evaluate the safety of their computerized provider order entry using a simulation tool such as the one provided by the Leapfrog Group. This study developed a similar simulation tool for use in the UK. Study participants rated 178 clinical scenarios for likelihood of occurrence, level of associated harm, and likelihood of harm. One hundred and thirty-one extreme or high-risk prescribing scenarios were developed and will be used to create the evaluation tool.
The medication-use process is highly complex with many steps and risk points for error, and those errors are a key target for improving safety. This Library reflects a curated selection of PSNet content focused on medication and drug errors. Included resources explore understanding harms from preventable medication use, medication safety...
Pueyo-López C, Sánchez-Cuervo M, Vélez-Díaz-Pallarés M, et al. J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2021;27:1588-1595.
Researchers in this study used healthcare failure mode and effect analysis (HFMEA) to identify and reduce errors during chemotherapy preparation. Nine potential failure modes were identified – wrong label, drug, dose, solvent, or volume; non-sterile preparation; incomplete control; improper packaging or labeling, and; break or spill – and the potential causes and effects. Potential approaches to reduce these failure modes include updating the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), implementing a bar code system, and using a weight-based control system.
Alshehri GH, Keers RN, Carson-Stevens A, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:341-351.
Medication errors are common in mental health hospitals. This study found medication administration and prescribing were the most common stages of medication error. Staff-, organizational-, patient-, and equipment-related factors were identified as contributing to medication safety incidents.
Koeck JA, Young NJ, Kontny U, et al. Pediatric Drugs. 2021;23:223-240.
Pediatric patients are at risk for medication prescribing errors due to weight-based dosing. This review analyzed 70 interventions aimed at reducing weight-based prescribing errors. Findings indicate that bundled interventions are most effective, and that interventions should include substitute or engineering controls (e.g., computerized provider order entry) along with administrative controls (e.g., expert consultation).
Computerized prescriber (or physician) order entry (CPOE) systems are widely used in healthcare and studies have shown a reduction in medication errors with CPOE. This study focused on whether CPOE systems improved the incidence of chemotherapy-related medication errors. The study included 11 studies in the review but only 8 studies were in the meta-analysis. The authors found that the use of CPOE was associated with an 81% reduction in chemotherapy-related medication errors, indicating that CPOE is a valuable strategy for this patient population.
Polypharmacy in older adults is common and may increase risk of medication-related adverse events. This study found that an intervention combining educational training, tailored health information technology, and a therapy check process improved medication appropriateness in nursing home residents.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) can prevent prescribing errors, but patient safety threats persist. Based on qualitative interviews with multidisciplinary prescribers, the authors identified several issues related to CPOE interacting within a complex prescribing environment, including alert fatigue, remote prescribing, and default auto-population of dosages.
Delvaux N, Piessens V, Burghgraeve TD, et al. Implement Sci. 2020;15:100.
Clinical decision support systems (CDSS) and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) have the potential to improve patient safety. This randomized trial evaluated the impact of integrating CDSS into CPOE among general practitioners in Belgium. The intervention improved appropriateness and decreased volume of laboratory test ordering and did not show any increases in diagnostic errors.
Corny J, Rajkumar A, Martin O, et al. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2020;27:1695–1704.
Machine learning can improve the accuracy of clinical decision support (CDS) tools. This single-site study used data from the electronic health record (EHR) and clinical pharmacist review to test the accuracy of a hybrid CDS system to identify prescriptions with high risk of medication error. The machine-learning based approach was more accurate than existing techniques such as the traditional CDS system and can improve the reliability of prescription checks in an inpatient setting.
Kuitunen SK, Niittynen I, Airaksinen M, et al. J Patient Saf. 2021;17:e1669-e1680.
The objective of this systematic review was to identify systemic defenses (such as barcode scanning) to confirm drug and patient identity, clinical decision systems, and smart infusion pumps) to prevent in-hospital intravenous (IV) medication errors. Of the 46 included studies, most discussed systemic defenses related to drug administration; fewer discussed defenses during prescribing, preparation, treatment monitoring and dispensing. Closed loop medication management and smart pumps were the most common systemic defenses examined in the included studies; the authors identify a need for further studies exploring the effectiveness of different combinations of systemic defenses.
Howlett MM, Butler E, Lavelle KM, et al. Appl Clin Inform. 2020;11.
Using a pre-post approach, this study assessed the impact of implementing electronic prescribing and smart pump-facilitated standard concentration infusions on medication errors in a pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). The overall error rates were similar before and after implementation but the error types changed before and after implementation of these tools. After implementation, lack of clarity, incomplete orders and wrong unit errors were reduced but dosing errors, altered orders and duplicate errors increased. Pre-implementation, 78% of errors were deemed preventable by electronic prescribing and smart-pumps; post-implementation 27% of errors were attributed to the technology and would not have occurred if the order was not electronically created or administered via the smart-pump.