Conclusion

Despite the limitation of sample size, valid and valuable information was obtained from this pilot study concerning medication errors. In fact, the study found that 88% of medication errors were due to wrong drug and/or wrong strength. This is in concert with national statistics. No statistically significant difference was found regarding the number of prescriptions filled on the day of the incident versus a typical day. However, pharmacists perceived that they were significantly busier on the day of the incident reporting that they were more involved in the mechanical prescription preparation processes than usual. They also reported that there were significantly fewer supportive personnel available on the day the medication error occurred. In addition, medication errors were more likely to occur when pharmacists reported being understaffed. Therefore, a closer examination of staffing and appropriate pharmacist to technician/intern ratios should be included in future studies. In conclusion, additional research is warranted for a more comprehensive investigation of medication errors. Leaders of the pharmacy profession should encourage and support prospective research in this area to establish new standards for optimal patient care.

Credits

Principal Investigator

  • R. Rebecca Couris, M.S., R.Ph.
    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences
    Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice
    Ph.D. Candidate, Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Research Collaborators

  • Gary R. Tataronis, M.S.
    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences
    Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Stephen L. DePietro, B.S., R. Ph.
    Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy
    Board Member
  • Ronald A. DeBellis, M.S., R.Ph.
    Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences
    Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice
  • Charles R. Young, B.S., R.Ph., C.F.E.
    Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy
    Executive Director



This information is provided by the Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health.