Detecting medication errors: Analysis based on a hospital's incident reports

Authors

  • Marja Härkänen MSc RN,

    PhD Student, Corresponding author
    1. Finnish Doctoral Programme in Nursing Sciences, Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
    • Correspondence: Marja Härkänen, University of Eastern Finland, Department of Nursing Science, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland. Email: marja.harkanen@uef.fi

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  • Hannele Turunen PhD RN,

    Professor, Nurse Manager (adjunct)
    1. Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
    2. Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
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  • Susanna Saano PhD,

    Pharmacist
    1. Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
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  • Katri Vehviläinen-Julkunen PhD RN

    Professor, Nurse Manager (adjunct)
    1. Department of Nursing Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
    2. Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to analyse how medication incidents are detected in different phases of the medication process. The study design is a retrospective register study. The material was collected from one university hospital's web-based incident reporting database in Finland. In 2010, 1617 incident reports were made, 671 of those were medication incidents and analysed in this study. Statistical methods were used to analyse the material. Results were reported using frequencies and percentages. Twenty-one percent of all medication incidents were detected during documenting or reading the documents. One-sixth of medication incidents were detected during medicating the patients, and approximately one-tenth were detected during verifying of the medicines. It is important to learn how to break the chain of medication errors as early as possible. Findings showed that for nurses, the ability to concentrate on documenting and medicating the patient is essential.

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