Web-based reporting system can be a useful tool for primary care practices

December 10, 2010

Most frequent medication errors and adverse drug events in primary care practices are communication problems and lack of knowledge, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine studied urban, suburban, and rural primary care practices in California, Connecticut, Oregon, and Texas that used MEADERS (Medication Error and Adverse Drug Event Reporting System) for 10 weeks, submitting 507 confidential event reports. Of the reports, 70% included medication errors only, whereas 2% included both medication errors and adverse drug events. Average time spent reporting an event was slightly more than 4 minutes.

Most frequent medication errors and adverse drug events in primary care practices are communication problems and lack of knowledge, according to a recent study. Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Medicine studied urban, suburban, and rural primary care practices in California, Connecticut, Oregon, and Texas that used MEADERS (Medication Error and Adverse Drug Event Reporting System) for 10 weeks, submitting 507 confidential event reports. Of the reports, 70% included medication errors only, whereas 2% included both medication errors and adverse drug events. Average time spent reporting an event was slightly more than 4 minutes.

Medications used to treat cardiovascular disease, central nervous system disorders (including pain killers), and endocrine diseases (mainly diabetes), as well as antibiotics, were most often associated with the events reported in MEADERS. In addition, medication errors were equally divided among ordering medications, implementing prescription orders, errors by patients receiving the medications, and documentation errors. There was no harm in two-thirds of the patients, documented harm in 11%, and nothing mentioned for 20%.

The researchers found that MEADERS was a useful tool for doctors because it informed the practices of problems encountered by the doctors, practices, and patients in the safe and effective use of drugs. It also allowed a safe and secure way for practices to report problems.