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This WebM&M highlights two cases where home diabetes medications were not reviewed during medication reconciliation and the preventable harm that could have occurred. The commentary discusses the importance of medication reconciliation, how to compile the ‘best possible medication history’, and how pharmacy staff roles and responsibilities can reduce medication errors.

Xiao Y, Smith A, Abebe E, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub May 22.
Older adults are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to polypharmacy and medical complexities. In this qualitative study, healthcare professionals outlined several multifactorial hazards for medication-related harm during care transitions, including complex dosing, knowledge gaps, errors in discharge medications and gaps in access to care.
Brown A, Cavell G, Dogra N, et al. Int J Med Inform. 2022;164:104780.
Alert fatigue and subsequent overrides are known contributors to preventable adverse events particularly for high-risk drug-drug interactions. Researchers assessed prescribers’ actions following an alert for new prescriptions of Low Molecular Weight Heparins (LMWHs) to patients currently prescribed Direct Acting Anticoagulants (DOACs). More than half of the alerts were overridden but were appropriate and justified in most cases.
Stuijt CCM, van den Bemt BJF, Boerlage VE, et al. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:722.
Medication reconciliation can reduce medication errors, but implementation practices can vary across institutions. In this study, researchers compared data for patients from six hospitals and different clinical departments and found that hospitals differed in the number and type of medication reconciliation interventions performed. Qualitative analysis suggests that patient mix, types of healthcare professionals involved, and when and where the medication reconciliation interviews took place, influence the number of interventions performed.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. June 2, 2022;27(11):1-4.

Minimizing look-alike/sound-alike medication risk is a universal need across health care. This story highlights a primary prevention tool that lists problematic drug names. It shares strategies across the medication use process to reduce errors associated with similarly named and labeled medications such as separate storage areas and tall man lettering.
Iredell B, Mourad H, Nickman NA, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:730-735.
The advantages of automation can be safely achieved only when the technologies are implemented into processes that support their proper use in regular and urgent situations. This guideline outlines considerations for the safe use of computerized compounding devices to prepare parenteral nutrition admixtures with the broader application to other IV preparations in mind. Effective policy, training, system variation, and vendor partnerships are elements discussed.

Whitaker B. CBS News. May 22, 2022.

Drug shortages represent a complex system level challenge in health care that can harm patients. This news segment details economic and production factors that affect the availability of generic medications. Clinicians and families were interviewed to share tactics for managing these situations to support patient safety despite shortages.

Kelman B. Kaiser Health News. April 29, 2022.

Technological solutions harbor unique risks that can result in patient harm. This article shares a response to reports of automated dispensing cabinet (ADC) menu selection limitations that contribute to mistakes. The piece suggests the implementation of a 5-letter search requirement prior to removing a medication from an ADC. It provides an update on industry response to this forcing function recommendation.
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.
Lin MP, Vargas-Torres C, Shin-Kim J, et al. Am J Emerg Med. 2022;53:135-139.
Drug shortages can result in patient harm, such as dosing errors from a medication substitution. In this study, 28 of the 30 most frequently used medications in the emergency department experienced shortages between 2006 and 2019. The most common reasons for shortages were manufacturing delays and increased demand. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated pre-existing drug shortages.
Reese T, Wright A, Liu S, et al. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2022;79:1086-1095.
Computerized decision support alerts for drug-drug interactions are commonly overridden by clinicians. This study examined fifteen well-known drug-drug interactions and identified risk factors that could reduce risk in the majority of interactions (e.g., medication order timing, medication dose, and patient factors).
Watterson TL, Stone JA, Gilson A, et al. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2022;22:50.
The CancelRx system is a health information technology-based intervention intended to mitigate the challenges of communicating medication discontinuation. Using secondary data from the electronic health record (EHR) system of a midwestern academic health system, researchers found that implementing the CancelRx system resulted in a significant increase in successful medication discontinuations for controlled substances.

ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. February 10, 2022:27(3):1-6.

Best practices evolve over time, given experience and evidence associated with their use. This article summarizes 3 new areas of focus included in current recommendations for sustaining medication safety. The new practices focus on improving the safety of oxytocin use, enhancing vaccine administration through bar coding, and implementing multifocal efforts to reduce high-alert medication errors. A survey accompanies the article to gather data on the presence of the new recommendations in the field. 

Medication Safety Alert! Acute care edition. January 27, 2022;27(2):1-6.

Medication errors are a consistent threat to safe patient care. This newsletter article analyzes events submitted to the Institute for Safe Medication Practices in 2021 and highlights those that are COVID-related or common, yet preventable, if practice recommendations and system improvements are applied.
Gadallah A, McGinnis B, Nguyen B, et al. Int J Clin Pharm. 2021;43:1404-1411.
This comparison study assessed the impact of virtual pharmacy technicians (vCPhT) obtaining best possible medication histories from patients admitted to the hospital from the emergency department.  The rates of unintentional discrepancies per medication and incomplete medication histories were significantly lower for vCPhT than other clinicians. Length of stay, readmissions, and emergency department visits were similar for both groups.
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.