Medication errors in primary health care records; a cross-sectional study in Southern Sweden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Drug-related problems due to medication errors are common and have the potential to cause harm. This study, which was conducted in Swedish primary health care, aimed to assess how well the medication lists in the medical records tally with the medications used by patients and to explore what type of medication errors are present. METHODS: We reviewed the electronic medical records (EMRs) at ten primary health care centers in Skåne county, Sweden. The medication lists in the EMRs were compared with the results of medication reconciliations, which were performed telephonically in a structured manner by a physician, two weeks after a follow-up visit to a general practitioner. Of 76 patients aged ≥18 years, who on a certain day in 2016 were visiting one of the included primary health care centers, a total of 56 were included. Descriptive statistics were used. The chi2-test and the Mann Whitney U-test were used for comparisons. The main outcome measure was the proportion of correctly updated medication lists. RESULTS: Following a recent visit to the general practitioner, a total of 16% of the medication lists in the medical records were consistent with the patients' actual medication use. The mean number of medication errors in the medical records was 3.8 (SD 3.8). Incorrect dose was the most common error, followed by additional drugs without indication/documentation. The most common medication group among all errors was analgesics and among dose errors the most common medication group was cardiovascular drugs. CONCLUSION: A total of 84% of the medication lists used by the general practitioners in the assessment and follow-up of the patients were not updated; this implies a great safety risk since medication errors are potentially harmful. Ensuring medication reconciliations in daily clinical practice is important for patient safety.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Department of Medicines Management and Informatics in Skåne County
  • Center for Primary Health Care Research
  • Vårdcentralen Tåbelund
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social and Clinical Pharmacy

Keywords

  • Medication discrepancies, Medication errors, Medication reconciliation, Patient safety, Primary health care
Original languageEnglish
Article number110
JournalBMC Family Practice
Volume20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 31
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes