Prescription Errors in NICU: Prevalence and Results of an Intervention Program

Rahul Mansingh Kadam, Bhargavi Gohil, Nandkishor Shrikishanji Kabra, Javed Ahmed, Bhupendra Suryanarayan Avasthi, Shobha Rajesh Sharma


Aim: To assess the prevalence and characteristics of prescription errors in neonatal inpatients and measure the effect of an intervention program to reduce prescription errors

Materials and Methods: This was a preintervention and postintervention cross-sectional study conducted at a level-3 neonatal care unit. Sample prescriptions that were ordered by physicians during the study period were collected. A single, multifaceted intervention was performed mainly through an educational program on prescription of medications by medical and nursing staff. The prevalence of prescription errors during each phase, type of identified errors, and adverse effects due to medication errors were studied.

The first group sampling was done in May 2013 and comprised 48 patients with 368 prescriptions. An educational program was conducted subsequently. The second group sampling was done in September 2013 and comprised 69 patients with 511 prescriptions.

Results: Both groups had similar baseline characteristics. The prevalence of prescription errors was significantly lower during the postintervention phase of the study. Among other outcome measures, the most frequent errors were the omission of name and signature of the prescribing physician and omission of prescription order date and time, which significantly reduced in the postintervention phase.

Conclusions: Intervention through a comprehensive program for preventing errors, including all healthcare personnel involved in the treatment process, helped to achieve a significant reduction in the prevalence of prescription errors.

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