University of Oulu

Laatikainen O, Sneck S and Turpeinen M (2020) The Risks and Outcomes Resulting From Medication Errors Reported in the Finnish Tertiary Care Units:. Front. Pharmacol. 10:1571. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01571

The risks and outcomes resulting from medication errors reported in the Finnish tertiary care units : a cross-sectional retrospective register study

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Author: Laatikainen, Outi1; Sneck, Sami2; Turpeinen, Miia1,2
Organizations: 1Research Unit of Biomedicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and Medical Research Center Oulu, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
2Administration Center, Oulu University Hospital, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Frontiers Media, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-02-25


Background: Hospital-acquired medication errors (MEs) are common in health care. Although voluntary reporting is criticized for not producing reliable estimates on ME frequency, it provides valuable knowledge on errors occurring in the medication process.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze and determine the risks and outcomes resulting from MEs related to the TOP15 medicines in the Finnish tertiary care units from July 2016 to July 2017.

Methods: The data consisting of 1,447 ME reports was organized according to ATC classification, after which TOP15 medicines involved in the reports were selected. Inductive content analysis was performed to the reports. After this, the reports were categorized by ME outcome into five categories and further analyzed accordingly.

Results: The most common ME outcome in the reports was “omitted medicine” (33.9%). More than a quarter (27.1%) of ME reports were estimated to cause moderate or severe risk to the patient. When compared with each other, none of the outcome groups were more susceptible to high-risk events (p = 0.71). Of the TOP15 medicines, only Norepinephrine had significantly higher risk of being involved in high-risk events (OR 2.43, 95%CI 1.35–4.61).

Conclusion: Voluntary reporting has an important role in the development of medication safety and the overall medication process within organizations. Although majority of the TOP15 medicines were involved in MEs resulting in seemingly high-risk outcomes, they were estimated to be insignificant or minor within the reporting unit. In the future, more emphasis will be needed for the assessment and analysis of the reports for more efficient, real-time detection and response to signals from health care units.

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Series: Frontiers in pharmacology
ISSN: 1663-9812
ISSN-E: 1663-9812
ISSN-L: 1663-9812
Volume: 10
Article number: 1571
DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01571
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 317 Pharmacy
Copyright information: Copyright © 2020 Laatikainen, Sneck and Turpeinen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.