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J Adv Nurs. 2011 Oct;67(10):2080-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05676.x. Epub 2011 May 6.

Medication administration technologies and patient safety: a mixed-method systematic review.

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Capital Health, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.



Healthcare leaders need evidence-based information on nursing medication administration technologies to guide the design of improvements to patient safety.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the research evidence on relationships between the use of medication administration technologies and incidence of medication administration incidents and preventable adverse drug events to inform decision-making about existing technology options.


Thirteen electronic databases and seven relevant patient safety websites were searched for the years 1980-2009.


A mixed-method systematic literature review of research on medication administration technologies and associated links to patient safety, operationalized as medication administration incidents and preventable adverse drug events, was conducted.


Twelve studies (two qualitative, five pre- and postinterventions and five correlational) met the inclusion criteria. All were assessed as medium quality with low generalizability of study findings. Only two studies sampled more than one hospital and none of the studies was driven by an explicit theoretical framework. The studies included in this review are generally positive towards medication administration technologies and their potential benefits, yet the level of evidence overall is equivocal. The majority of studies pointed to the development of workarounds by nurses following medication administration technology implementation that could compromise patient safety.


More theoretically driven research is needed to determine which medication administration technologies should be implemented in what ways to most effectively reduce medication administration incidents and preventable adverse drug events and minimize the development of potentially unsafe workarounds. Further evidence is required to accurately assess the actual contribution of medication administration technologies for improving patient safety.

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