Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Qual Health Care. 2007 Aug;19(4):203-9. Epub 2007 Jun 12.

Dispensing errors in community pharmacy: perceived influence of sociotechnical factors.

Author information

Division of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, College of Pharmacy, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.



This study examined the impact of pharmacists' perceptions of errors in dispensing, errors in communication, delays in prescription processing, efficiency and physical mobility in the pharmacy by practice setting and sociotechnical factors (i.e. pharmacy design, drive through pick-up window services and automated dispensing systems).


Community pharmacy practice in the USA.


A two-page survey was mailed to a geographically stratified random sample of 1047 community pharmacies. One-way analysis of variance was used to determine the impact of attitudinal items with respect to pharmacy practice setting (e.g. mass merchant, supermarket, chain and independent) and sociotechnical factors. Pharmacy characteristics, pharmacist experience and total dispensing errors were also addressed.


The response rate was 45.0% (n = 429). Pharmacists perceived that pharmacy design significantly (P < 0.05) contributed to dispensing errors, errors in communication, problems with efficiency and those similar problems were observed for all items relating to drive through window pick-up services. Automated dispensing systems were perceived as less likely (P < 0.05) to contribute to dispensing errors, errors in communication, efficiency problems and extra physical movement. Perceived dispensing error rate was 0.057%, and the number of dispensing errors was positively and significantly (P < 0.001) correlated with prescription volume. Cognitive errors accounted for approximately 80% of the dispensing errors.


Perceptions of dispensing errors by pharmacists are influenced by design, drive through pick-up window services, and automated dispensing systems. However, more effort is needed to determine how cognitive processes relate to sociotechnical variables in pharmacy practice and other environments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center