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Eur J Hosp Pharm. 2019 Mar;26(2):66-72. doi: 10.1136/ejhpharm-2017-001242. Epub 2017 Sep 27.

Identification and prioritisation of risks in a hospital pharmacy using healthcare failure mode and effect analysis.

Author information

Department of Pharmacy, Hospital de Poniente de Almeria, El Ejido, Spain.
Department of Services and Health Professionals, Escuela Andaluza de Salud Pública, Granada, Spain.
Contributed equally



The goals of this project included identifying the processes and subprocesses performed in hospital pharmacies, identifying potential adverse events, detecting failure modes and the causes of errors, prioritising the risks identified and designing a map of risks for hospital pharmacies.


A task force composed of hospital pharmacy staff was committed to update the diagram of processes and design a map of processes performed in hospital pharmacies. Risks were identified by failure mode and effect analysis annd prioritised according to their risk priority index (RPI) and criticality. A risk map of adverse events was designed based on the diagram of processes and/or primary activities where the prioritised failure modes were most frequent.


In total, 99 failure modes associated with 80 adverse events and 129 causes were identified in eight hospital pharmacy areas/subprocesses. The three areas with the highest percentages of failure modes were inpatient pharmaceutical care, pharmacy laboratory and pharmaceutical technology, and medication management. The 25 failure modes (first quartile) with the highest RPI scores (RPI≥20) and the 25 failure modes with the highest frequency and criticality scores were classified as priority.


According to their RPI, priority failure modes mostly occurred in the area of inpatient pharmaceutical care (92%). However, according to their criticality, priority failure modes were found to homogeneously occur across all pharmaceutical care areas. As general recommendations pharmacists should assume responsibility and leadership in the implementation of safe medication use practices in healthcare centres.


Adverse Effects; Adverse Events; Hospital Pharmacy Competencies; Risk Management

[Available on 2020-03-01]

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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