National study on the distribution, causes, and consequences of voluntarily reported medication errors between the ICU and non-ICU settings.
Approach to Improving Safety
Setting of Care
Patients requiring intensive care are particularly vulnerable to medication errors due to the complexity of their care. This analysis of medication errors that were voluntarily reported to the MEDMARX database compared errors in intensive care unit (ICU) patients with those hospitalized in other settings. The authors found that errors were more frequent in the ICU and that errors in ICU patients were more likely to result in serious patient harm or death. Most concerningly, less than 2% of all errors were disclosed to patients, regardless of the error's severity or setting in which it occurred. An ultimately fatal medication error in an ICU patient is analyzed in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.