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- Communication Improvement 2
- Education and Training 3
- Human Factors Engineering
- Legal and Policy Approaches 1
- Policies and Operations 1
- Specialization of Care 1
- Teamwork 1
- Clinical Information Systems 1
- Alert fatigue 1
- Device-related Complications 3
- Discontinuities, Gaps, and Hand-Off Problems 1
- Identification Errors 1
- Medication Errors/Preventable Adverse Drug Events 6
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Cases & Commentaries
- Web M&M
William W. Churchill, MS, RPh; Karen Fiumara, PharmD; April 2009
A powerful anti-clotting medication is ordered for a patient admitted for coronary intervention. Due to a forcing function in the computer order entry system, the intern enters an arbitrary maintenance infusion rate, assuming that the pharmacy will fix it if it is wrong. The pharmacy dispenses it as written, and the nurse administers it—underdosing the patient by a factor of 40.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. July 3, 2008;13:1-3.
This article reports on the potentially fatal error of administering epidural medications intravenously and provides guidelines to safeguard against such epidural–IV route mix-ups.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. August 14, 2008;13:1-3.
This article reports on an overdose caused by improper label placement on a patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pump and provides recommendations for preventing pump-related medication errors.
Journal Article > Study
The impact of traditional and smart pump infusion technology on nurse medication administration performance in a simulated inpatient unit.
Trbovich PL, Pinkney S, Cafazzo JA, Easty AC. Qual Saf Health Care. 2010;19:430-434.
Errors at the administration stage are common for intravenous medications. Programmable or smart infusion pumps are widely used as a means of preventing such errors. However, prior studies have found that smart pumps alone may not significantly reduce errors, as they do not eliminate wrong-patient errors and may be prone to workarounds. This study compared three types of pumps—traditional pumps, smart pumps, and smart pumps combined with bar-code technology—in a simulated inpatient unit. The results indicate that smart pumps may reduce administration errors when combined with bar-coding or when only "hard" (unchangeable) dosing limits are used. Ultimately, creation of a "closed-loop" system that integrates technological solutions to prescription and administration errors represents the optimal solution for eliminating medication errors.
Mix-ups between epidural analgesia and IV antibiotics in labor and delivery units continue to cause harm.
ISMP Medication Safety Alert! Acute Care Edition. October 4, 2018;23:1-4.
Increased urgency to prevent maternal mortality has uncovered various factors that diminish safety. This newsletter article reports on incidents involving the accidental misuse of epidural analgesia and intravenous antibiotics in labor and delivery care, describes contributing factors (e.g., health technology missteps, barcoding mistakes, and look-alike medications), and offers improvement strategies to mitigate harm.
Journal Article > Study
Facilitated self-reported anaesthetic medication errors before and after implementation of a safety bundle and barcode-based safety system.
Bowdle TA, Jelacic S, Nair B, et al. Br J Anaesth. 2018;121:1338-1345.
This pre–post study of errors in anesthesia compared self-reported errors before and after implementation of a medication safety bundle that included smart infusion devices and barcode medication administration. Wrong-medication errors declined after barcoding was introduced, consistent with prior studies.