BACKGROUND: Medication use process in the emergency department (ED) can be challenging and the risk for medication error (ME) to occur is high. In Malaysia, several studies on ME have been conducted in various hospital settings. However, little is known about the prevalence of ME in emergency department (ED) in these hospitals. The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of ME at an ED of a teaching hospital in Malaysia.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted over the period of 9 weeks in patients who visited the ED of Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia (HUSM), Kelantan, Malaysia. Data on patient medication orders and demographic information was collected from the doctor's clerking sheet. Observations were made on nursing activities and these were documented in the data collection form. Other information related to the administration of medications were obtained from the nursing care records.
RESULTS: Observations and data collections were made for 547 patients who fulfilled the study criteria. From these, 311 patient data were randomly selected for analysis. Ninety-five patients had at least one ME. The prevalence of ME was calculated to be 30.5%. The most common types of ME were wrong time error (46.9%), unauthorized drug error (25.4%), omission error (18.5%) and dose error (9.2%). The most frequently drug associated with ME was analgesics. No adverse event was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of ME in our ED setting was moderately high. However, the majority of them did not result in any adverse event. Intervention measures are needed to prevent further occurrence.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.