Implementation of a medication guideline to improve medication safety for patients

Bucknall, Tracey K., Hutchinson, Alison and Dennett, Lydia 2007, Implementation of a medication guideline to improve medication safety for patients, in 18th International Nursing Research Congress: Focusing on Evidence-Based Practice.

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Title Implementation of a medication guideline to improve medication safety for patients
Author(s) Bucknall, Tracey K.ORCID iD for Bucknall, Tracey K.
Hutchinson, AlisonORCID iD for Hutchinson, Alison
Dennett, Lydia
Conference name International Nursing Research Congress (18th : 2007: Vienna, Austria)
Conference location Vienna, Austria
Conference dates 11-14 July 2007
Title of proceedings 18th International Nursing Research Congress: Focusing on Evidence-Based Practice
Publication date 2007
Summary Although the incidence of medication error remains unknown, in Australian hospitals, they are thought to occur in 5-20 % of drug administrations 1. Not surprisingly, international debate has focused on the mechanisms to improve the safety of patients. Thus a new National Inpatient Medication Chart (NIMC) was endorsed to improve communication and reduce medication errors 2. This study aimed to investigate the documentation practices of clinicians following the implementation of a medication guideline and NIMC.
A pre and post-test design was used to evaluate the adoption of and adherence to the medication guideline at Western Health, an 850 bed healthcare network in Australia. Audits of inpatient medication charts (N=265) were conducted at 3 months prior to and repeated 4 months (N=290) after implementation. The pre-test data was used to formulate an interdisciplinary organizational strategy that included mandatory education for all clinical staff, practice reminders, decision prompts, a telephone hotline for support, an intranet information website and electronically distributed Frequently Asked Questions.
Pre and post implementation audits highlighted areas of potential medication error. The post-test showed an overall trend towards improvement in documentation. There were significant improvements in 4 critical practices: Drug name clear (p=0.0003); Drug dose clear (p=0.0002); Prescribed frequency equals documented frequency (p=0) and; No signature by administrator (p=0).
The majority of documentation errors showed poor attention to detail and would be considered a slip or lapse in skill based judgment 3. Although this study was designed to evaluate documentation practices, future research should include observation methods to increase our understanding of the context behind the judgments such as work place interruptions, skill mix and knowledge levels. While evidence based guidelines enable work, they are not the actual work or substance of patient care. Organisational systems can assist in preventing unconscious aberrations that lead to error.
Language eng
Field of Research 160508 Health Policy
111708 Health and Community Services
HERDC Research category E3 Extract of paper
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