Deakin University
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Interventions to reduce medication errors in adult medical and surgical settings: a systematic review

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Elizabeth ManiasElizabeth Manias, Snezana Kusljic, Angela Wu
Background and Aims:
Medication errors occur at any point of the medication management process, and are a major cause of death and harm globally. The objective of this review was to compare the effectiveness of different interventions in reducing prescribing, dispensing and administration medication errors in acute medical and surgical settings.

The protocol for this systematic review was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42019124587). The library databases, MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched from inception to February 2019. Studies were included if they involved testing of an intervention aimed at reducing medication errors in adult, acute medical or surgical settings. Meta-analyses were performed to examine the effectiveness of intervention types.

A total of 34 articles were included with 12 intervention types identified. Meta-analysis showed that prescribing errors were reduced by pharmacist-led medication reconciliation, computerised medication reconciliation, pharmacist partnership, prescriber education, medication reconciliation by trained mentors and computerised physician order entry (CPOE) as single interventions. Medication administration errors were reduced by CPOE and the use of an automated drug distribution system as single interventions. Combined interventions were also found to be effective in reducing prescribing or administration medication errors. No interventions were found to reduce dispensing error rates. Most studies were conducted at single-site hospitals, with chart review being the most common method for collecting medication error data. Clinical significance of interventions was examined in 21 studies. Since many studies were conducted in a pre–post format, future studies should include a concurrent control group.

The systematic review identified a number of single and combined intervention types that were effective in reducing medication errors, which clinicians and policymakers could consider for implementation in medical and surgical settings. New directions for future research should examine interdisciplinary collaborative approaches comprising physicians, pharmacists and nurses.



Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety




1 - 29




London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal