The epidemiology of medication errors: how many, how serious?
Version of Record online: 25 JUN 2009
© 2009 The Author. Journal compilation © 2009 The British Pharmacological Society
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Volume 67, Issue 6, pages 621–623, June 2009
How to Cite
Schachter, M. (2009), The epidemiology of medication errors: how many, how serious?. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 67: 621–623. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2009.03418.x
- Issue online: 25 JUN 2009
- Version of Record online: 25 JUN 2009
- Accepted 18 March 2009
- computerized prescribing;
- medication errors;
- prescribing errors
1. Errors will always occur in any system, but it is essential to identify causes and attempt to minimize risks.
2. Although it is difficult to quantify precisely the extent of medication errors, they are clearly frequent and often avoidable, representing a major threat to patient safety.
3. Many of the consequences of these errors can be prevented by the intervention of pharmacists.
4. Some errors are due to the conditions under which prescribers work; where possible these should be improved (for example, low staffing levels).
5. Computerized prescribing can help but can also generate its own inherent errors.
6. Improved training of prescribers at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels is vital, a fact that is now being belatedly recognized.