Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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 REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 47-53

Strategies to reduce medication errors in pediatric ambulatory settings


Department of Pediatrics, LN Hospital, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
S Mehndiratta
Department of Pediatrics, LN Hospital, Delhi
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.93252

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Worldwide, a large number of children are prescribed drugs on an outpatient basis. Medication errors are fairly common in these settings. Though this matter has been well recognized as a cause of concern, limited data is available from ambulatory settings. Medication errors can be defined as errors that may occur at any step, starting from ordering a medication, to dispensing, administration of the drug and the subsequent monitoring. The outcomes of such errors are variable and may range between those that are clinically insignificant to a life-threatening event. The reasons for these medication errors are multi-factorial. Children are unable to administer medications to themselves and also require a strict weight-based dosing regimen. The risk factors associated with medication errors include complex regimens with multiple medications. Overdosing and under-dosing (10-fold calculation errors), an increased or a decreased frequency of dosing or an inappropriate duration of administration of the medication, are frequently detected errors. The lack of availability of proper formulations adds to the confusion. The low level of literacy among the caregivers can aggravate this problem. There is a lack of proper reporting and monitoring mechanisms in most ambulatory settings, hence these errors remain unrecognized and often go unreported. This article summarizes the current available literature on medication errors in ambulatory settings and the possible strategies that can be adopted to reduce the burden of these errors in order to improve child care and patient safety. Voluntary, anonymous reporting can be introduced in the healthcare institutions to determine the incidence of these errors.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow