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J Med Pract Manage. 2015 Mar-Apr;30(6 Spec No):41-3.

Medication errors in anesthesia.


Medication errors represent one of the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. Anesthesia has specific medication-related risks; providers must administer many potent intravenous medications quickly, often with minimal to no supervision. Well-described reasons for medication administration errors in anesthesia include medication ampoules with similar appearance and packaging, clinician inattention, ineffective communication, fatigue, and haste. Technologies that are used widely in other parts of the hospital, such as barcoding, are a challenge to implement in anesthesia, and systemic approaches, including color-coding of syringe labels and barcoding technology of syringes, have been evaluated with mixed results. Emphasis should be placed on implementing forcing functions when possible, utilizing technology, standardization, and education about the need for awareness in specific situations. More studies need to be done to define the epidemiology of medication errors in anesthesia, and more importantly, to assess interventions for preventing them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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