According to the European Medicines Agency, " medication errors " are unintentional errors in the prescribing, dispensing, administration or monitoring of a medicinal product under the control of a healthcare professional, patient or consumer, and are the most common single preventable cause of adverse events in medicines practice.
Both health workers and patients can make mistakes that result in serious harm, such as order , prescribing , dispensing , preparing , administering or taking the wrong medication or the wrong dose at the wrong time . However, all medication errors are potentially preventable .
To prevent errors and the resulting harm, systems and procedures must be put in place to ensure that the right patient receives the right medicine, at the right dose, in the right way at the right time .
The costs associated with medication errors are estimated at $42 billion annually, or nearly 1% of total global health spending .
In March 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a global initiative , to reduce serious, preventable medication-related errors by 50% in all countries over the next 5 years.
The initiative calls on countries to take early priority action to address these key factors to reduce medication errors and harm to patients. It aims to improve at every stage of the medication adherence process, including prescribing, dispensing, administration, monitoring and use.
Ferner et al. reviewed systematic medication errors in clinical practice in a multicenter study. They found that systematic calculation errors occurred in about 5% of cases, major preparation errors in another 3%, and inadequate mixing in 9%, indicating that the dispensed dose often deviates from the intended dose.
The trend in the last decade to improve medication safety in health care systems is through innovations in automation technology . As regulatory requirements increase and investments in patient safety become a high priority, more and more hospitals and pharmacies are seeking computerized solutions to significantly improve the precision and safety of medication dosing and distribution.
In an article by Chapuis et al, the authors decided to evaluate the impact of an automated compounding dispensing (ACD) system on the incidence of medication errors associated with the withdrawal, preparation, and administration of medications in a medical intensive care unit.Their conclusion showed that the implementation of an automated compounding dispensing (ACD) system reduced overall medication errors related to the withdrawal, preparation, and administration of medications in the ICU . In addition, most nurses were in favor of the new medication dispensing organization.