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Table 5 Medication administration errors: Australian hospitals 1988–2007

From: Medication safety in acute care in Australia: where are we now? Part 1: a review of the extent and causes of medication problems 2002–2008

  Total opportunities for error Error rate (excluding minor timing errors) Type of medication error
    Timing error Wrong dose Omission Wrong formul'n or route Other
WARD STOCK-BASED SYSTEMS
Stewart et al., 1991 [53] 2017 369 (18.3%) 75 (3.7%) 46 (2.3%) 82 (4.1%) 6 (0.3%) 160 (7.9%)
McNally et al., 1997 [54] 494 76 (15.4%) 22* (4.5%) 20 (4.0%) 13 (2.6%) 2 (0.4%) 19 (3.8%)
Lawler et al. 2004 [24] 4887 Omission only assessed    369 (7.6%)   
COMBINATION SYSTEMS
Rippe and Hurley, 1988 [55] 312 52 (16.7%) 24 (7.7%) 6 (1.9%) 12 (3.8%) 3 (0.96%) 7 (2.2%)
Camac et al., 1996 [56] 370 47 (12.7%) 25 (6.8%) N/G N/G N/G N/G
INDIVIDUAL PATIENT SUPPLY
de Clifford et al., 1994 [57] 164 10 (6.1%) 1 (0.6%) 2 (1.2%) 5 (3.0%) 0 2 (1.2%)
McNally et al., 1997 [54] 502 24 (4.8%) 12* (2.4%) 2 (0.4%) 7 (1.4%) 0 3 (0.6%)
Thornton and Koller 1994 [58] 242 20 (8.3%) 2 (0.8%) 0 13 (5.4%) 0 5 (2.1%)
IV FLUID ADMINISTRATIONS
Han et al., 2005 [25] 687 124 (18%)      
  1. * Major timing errors included, minor timing errors excluded – a deviation of 2 or more hours from the ordered time. All other studies define a 'timing error' as a deviation of one or more hours from the ordered time.
  2. † Total data using two different storage sites – ward bay medication drawer and patient's bedside locker.
  3. ‡ N/G – insufficient data given to calculate rate of individual error types