Journal Mobile

E Gray, S Ullah, A Lwin, SJ Sultanzadeh, C Farrow, YK Loke, J Southgate, P Jenkins
Journal Issue: 
Volume 37: Issue 4: 2007




Errors in hospital patients’ drug prescriptions are common in a wide variety of clinical environments. This study reports a high incidence of prescribing mistakes  (45%)  in  a  busy  acute  medical  unit  in  a  university  hospital  in  the  UK. Prescription errors arising in a ‘front-door’ department are of particular concern because they may well be perpetuated throughout a patient’s subsequent stay in hospital.   In  this  study, prescription  errors  of  all  degrees  of  seriousness  were recorded, and  in  addition, a  failure  to  document  drug  allergy  was  discovered  in 13%  of  the  prescription  charts  studied.  We  consider  this  to  be  a  particularly important observation in view of the potential for severe allergic drug reactions. Multiple  factors  contribute  to  errors  in  prescribing  and  it  is  suggested  that additional  resources  should  be  directed  at  continuous  prescription  training  for clinical  staff  and  this  should  include  audit  of individuals’  prescribing  habits  and error rates.