Perceptions of patients and health care professionals about factors contributing to medication errors and potential areas for improvement

Nicole R. Hartnell, Neil J. MacKinnon, Erika J.M. Jones, Roland Genge, Magdalena D.M. Nestel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Significant efforts have been directed to understanding medication errors in recent years, but there has been little work to compare the perceptions of health care professionals and patients regarding such errors. Objective: To determine the factors contributing to medication errors and related areas for improvement, as perceived by health care professionals and patients, and to compare and contrast these perceptions. Methods: Medication errors documented at South Shore Health hospitals in Nova Scotia from February 2002 to June 2004 were compiled and analyzed to identify trends. Trends and examples of medication errors were presented to 2 focus groups, the first consisting of health care professionals and the second consisting of patients. Participants were asked to identify factors perceived as contributing to errors using the nominal group technique and to identify possible areas for improvement using an Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram. Results: Health care professionals and patients identified different factors as contributing to errors. Health care professionals identified factors related to individuals, whereas patients identified both individual and system-wide factors. According to the fishbone diagram, participants felt that "people" and "procedures and management" are the areas where interventions to reduce medication errors should be primarily directed. Conclusions: A wide range of factors perceived as contributing to medication errors were identified. These results provide valuable information that could be used to improve the medication use system at South Shore Health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-183
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian Journal of Hospital Pharmacy
Volume59
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ishikawa diagram
  • Medication errors
  • Nominal group technique
  • Patient safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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