JOURNAL ARTICLE

Medication errors in the management of anaphylaxis in a pediatric emergency department

Rislaine Benkelfat, Serge Gouin, Guylaine Larose, Benoit Bailey
Journal of Emergency Medicine 2013, 45 (3): 419-25
23478178

BACKGROUND: Despite the publication of recent guidelines for anaphylaxis management, many studies show that physicians are still not at ease with the management of anaphylaxis.

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the rate and severity of medication errors before and after implementation of a standard order form for anaphylaxis management.

METHODS: A before-and-after study was conducted. All children <18 years of age presenting to a tertiary care pediatric hospital Emergency Department with anaphylaxis between September 2007 and November 2010 were included. Patients were divided into two groups according to intervention (Pre and Post). Intervention consisted of the implementation of a standard order form (SOF) for anaphylaxis management. The post-intervention group was further sub-divided into SOF+ (when the SOF was used) and SOF- (when the SOF was not used).

RESULTS: A total of 96 medical charts were reviewed. There were 31 patients in Pre and 65 in Post (29 in SOF+ and 36 in SOF-). A total of 243 drugs were ordered. Thirty-five percent (85/243) of these orders contained at least one medication error. Fifty-five percent (47/85) were dosage errors. The rate of medication errors was the same between Pre and Post (60% vs. 59%, p = 0.95). However, the rate of dosage errors was significantly reduced when the SOF was used (21% in SOF+ vs. 50% in Pre, p = 0.02 and 21% in SOF+ vs. 50% in SOF-, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: Medication errors in the management of anaphylaxis were frequent. Use of an SOF significantly reduced the rate of dosage errors.

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