Electronic tool helps reduce drug errors among hospitalized children

May 5, 2014

When children are admitted to the hospital, sometimes the medications they take at home are lost in the shuffle, or they may be given the wrong dose.

Having a system in place at to record and review a child's medication history results in fewer errors, potentially avoiding harm to the patient, according to a study to be presented Monday, May 5, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The Joint Commission, which accredits and certifies more than 20,000 in the United States, has set a patient safety goal to accurately and completely reconcile medications as patients move through all health care settings. The process involves comparing a patient's current medication regimen against a physician's admission, transfer or discharge orders to identify discrepancies.

Jonathan D. Hron, MD, FAAP, a pediatric hospitalist at Boston Children's Hospital and an instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, led a team that implemented a quality improvement project that focused on reducing medication errors due to breakdowns at hospital admission. A group of physicians, pharmacists, nurses and information technology specialists worked together to test, implement and train clinicians to use a tool, which facilitates review of a patient's complete medication history when the child is admitted to the hospital.

The tool, which is part of the hospital's electronic health record system, was piloted in one area of the hospital and gradually was expanded to the entire hospital. "We successfully implemented the application throughout the hospital, changing the practice of our entire staff," Dr. Hron said.

Using an existing voluntary error reporting tool, Dr. Hron and his colleagues then looked at the number of that occurred before and after implementation of the electronic tool.

About 33,000 children were admitted to Boston Children's Hospital during the study period, and the medication reconciliation tool was used for 75 percent of admissions after the intervention. The recording of medication history improved from 89 percent of admissions before the tool was implemented to 93 percent of admissions afterward. During the study, 146 medications errors due to missing or incorrect information at admission were detected. The error rate decreased by about 50 percent after staff starting using the tool—from 5.9 errors per 1,000 admissions to 2.5 errors per 1,000 admissions. Most of the did not harm patients, while 1 percent required additional monitoring or intervention but did not cause permanent harm.

"Careful medication reconciliation is essential to providing patient care, and it requires teamwork between doctors, nurses and pharmacists," Dr. Hron said. "If it's not being done in a systematic way, it's not being done right."

Explore further: Collaborative pharmaceutical care in hospitals cuts medication errors by three quarters

More information: Dr. Hron will present "Implementation of an Electronic Medication Reconciliation Tool Results in a Reduction in Medication Errors" from 11:15-11:30 a.m. Monday, May 5. To view the study abstract, go to www.abstracts2view.com/pas/vie … hp?nu=PAS14L1_3380.4

Related Stories

Collaborative pharmaceutical care in hospitals cuts medication errors by three quarters

February 19, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A new Irish study which has just been published in leading international peer reviewed journal, the British Medical Journal Quality & Safety, has shown how a new, more collaborative approach to managing ...

Automated prediction alert helps identify patients at risk for 30-day readmission

November 27, 2013
An automated prediction tool which identifies newly admitted patients who are at risk for readmission within 30 days of discharge has been successfully incorporated into the electronic health record of the University of Pennsylvania ...

Research shows medication errors common on admission to mental health units

November 15, 2013
Research published today in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy shows that medication errors occurred in 212 of 377 of patients (56.2 per cent) admitted to the assessment ward, between March to June 2012.

Med errors common among pediatric cancer outpatients

April 29, 2013
(HealthDay)—Among pediatric cancer patients who receive medications at home, errors are common, with a rate of 3.6 errors with injury per 100 patients, according to a study published online April 29 in Pediatrics.

Hospitalized HIV patients benefit from seeing infectious diseases specialists

October 4, 2013
When patients with HIV are hospitalized for other conditions, such as a heart problem, surgery or complications of diabetes, mistakes are often made involving their complicated anti-retroviral therapy (ART) regimens. But ...

Telemedicine in rural ER tied to fewer physician Rx errors

November 27, 2013
(HealthDay)—For seriously ill and injured children, the use of telemedicine consultations in rural emergency departments is associated with fewer physician-related medication errors, according to a study published online ...

Recommended for you

Small drop in measles vaccinations would have outsized effect, study estimates

July 24, 2017
Small reductions in childhood measles vaccinations in the United States would produce disproportionately large increases in the number of measles cases and in related public health costs, according to a new study by researchers ...

At the cellular level, a child's loss of a father is associated with increased stress

July 18, 2017
The absence of a father—due to incarceration, death, separation or divorce—has adverse physical and behavioral consequences for a growing child. But little is known about the biological processes that underlie this link ...

New comparison chart sheds light on babies' tears

July 10, 2017
A chart that enables parents and clinicians to calculate if a baby is crying more than it should in the first three months of its life has been created by a Kingston University London researcher, following a study of colic ...

Blood of SIDS infants contains high levels of serotonin

July 3, 2017
Blood samples from infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) had high levels of serotonin, a chemical that carries signals along and between nerves, according to a study funded in part by the National Institutes ...

Is your child's 'penicillin allergy' real?

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Many children suspected of being allergic to the inexpensive, first-line antibiotic penicillin actually aren't, new research indicates.

Probiotic supplements failed to prevent babies' infections

July 3, 2017
(HealthDay)—Probiotic supplements may not protect babies from catching colds or stomach bugs in day care, a new clinical trial suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.