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Am J Hosp Pharm. 1975 Feb;32(2):186-91.

Medication errors in a multidose and a computer-based unit dose drug distribution system.


The medication error rates of a hospital's multidose and computer-based unit dose drug distribution systems were compared; in addition, the medication error rate of the unit dose system was compared to that reported for noncomputerized unit dose systems in other hospitals. Two similar adult, medical, patient care units, each serviced by a different drug distribution system, were studied for 60 days. Information about the medications administered was obtained by the disguised observation technique during intermittent periods. The observer's notations on the medications administered were compared to the physicians' orders to determine if errors had been committed. Only medication "errors of commission" were recorded. There were significantly fewer medication errors and significantly fewer medications administered at the wrong time in the unit dose system. The medication error rate associated with the unit dose system compared favorably with that of most other unit dose systems. No particular benefit, in terms of the medication error rate, was attributed to the computer element of the unit dose system.

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