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Journal Article > Study
Bates DW. Ann Intern Med. 2002;137:110-116.
This case study shares the experiences of a patient who suffered a medication error in receiving a dose of insulin inadvertently. The author reviews the epidemiology of medication errors and adverse drug events and shares a systems approach to medication errors, the role individuals and the system played in this particular case, and the potential prevention strategies to be considered. Finally, a comment about the institution's response to the event is presented to illustrate the importance of bridging what happens at the bedside with what needs to happen from the executive suite. This article is part of a collection entitled "Quality Grand Rounds," a series published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that explores quality issues and medical errors.
Journal Article > Commentary
McDonald CJ. Ann Intern Med. 2006;144:510-516.
This case study shares the events of a near miss when a patient almost received a fatal dose of insulin in response to another patient's reported hyperglycemia. Ironically, the root cause of the problem involved a new bar-coding system to prevent errors in patient identification. The authors discuss the case in detail and advise caution in the implementation of new technology (eg, computerized provider order entry), which may solve safety issues but create the opportunity for others. This article is part of a special collection entitled "Quality Grand Rounds," a series of articles published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that explores a range of quality issues and medical errors.
Medication errors in acute cardiovascular and stroke patients. A scientific statement from the American Heart Association.
Michaels AD, Spinler SA, Leeper B, et al; American Heart Association Acute Cardiac Care Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research, Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative, and Resuscitation, Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, Stroke Council. Circulation. 2010;121:1664-1682.
Patients hospitalized with acute coronary syndromes or strokes are particularly vulnerable to medication errors, as many of these patients are elderly, have complex medication regimens, or are administered high-risk medications such as anticoagulants. This position paper from the American Heart Association reviews the specific types of medication errors in these patients, including dosing errors, administration of contraindicated medications, and errors of omission (failure to prescribe recommended therapies). The authors make specific, evidence-based recommendations for preventing medication errors in this patient population, including integrating pharmacists into inpatient teams and using computerized provider order entry and medication reconciliation to detect and prevent errors. A medication error in an acute coronary syndrome patient is illustrated in this AHRQ WebM&M commentary.
Journal Article > Study
Unintended effects of a computerized physician order entry nearly hard-stop alert to prevent a drug interaction: a randomized controlled trial.
Strom BL, Schinnar R, Aberra F, et al. Arch Intern Med. 2010;170:1578-1583.
Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems prevent prescribing errors by warning clinicians about medication interactions or contraindications. However, extensive research has shown that clinicians ignore many warnings, especially those perceived as clinically inconsequential. In this randomized trial, investigators created a "hard stop" warning that essentially prevented co-prescribing of warfarin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (a combination that exposes patients to severe bleeding risks). Although the hard stop was much more successful than a less stringent warning at preventing co-prescribing, the trial was stopped and the warning abandoned because several patients experienced delays in needed treatment with one of the drugs. The accompanying editorial by Dr. David Bates points out that this study vividly illustrates the unintended consequences of CPOE, a persistent issue that has slowed the pace of CPOE implementation.