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Farm Hosp. 2008 Sep-Oct;32(5):274-9.

[Quality of drug treatment process through medication errors in a tertiary hospital].

[Article in Spanish]

Author information

Servicio de Farmacia. Hospital Universitario La Fe. Valencia. España.



To assess the quality of drug treatment process in a unit-dose and assisted electronic prescription system in a tertiary hospital, by looking at medication errors.


A prospective, observational study into medication errors was carried out on 308 hospitalised patients. This was done by assessing medical prescriptions, pharmaceutical validation, prepared and dispensed medication and by directly observing drug administration. The variable, i.e. the medication error, was analysed in the drug treatment process so as to decipher the type and cause of the error. Quality indicators were defined at each stage (percentage relationship between errors and opportunities for error).


Of the 308 patients studied, 107 had at least 1 medication error (34.7%). There were a total of 137 errors: omission of allergy and prescription description (20.4%), prescription/validation (28.5%), dispensing (23.4%) and drug administration (27.7%). The most frequent error was dose omission (19.7%) and choice of pharmaceutical product (16.1%). The most common cause of error was forgetfulness or a lack of attention to detail (53.3%). The quality indicators by stage were: 2.3% for omission of the patient's allergies; 0.9% for prescription; 1.6% for prescription/validation; 8.2% for dispensing, and 2.1% for drug administration.


It is estimated that 35 patients in every 100 experience errors in their drug treatment process. Opportunities for improvement are identified based on standardisation and training for professionals in carrying out technical tasks and using technology.

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