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E-Prescribing Errors Identified in a Compounding Pharmacy: A Quality-improvement Project

Author(s):  Reed-Kane Dana, Kittell Katrina, Adkins Jacquelyn, Flocks Sarah, Nguyen Thu

Issue:  Jan/Feb 2014 - Volume 18, Number 1
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Abstract:  Errors during the prescribing process can cause problems for patients. When the pharmacist intercepts a prescribing error, it can cause a delay, as the patient may not receive the medication until the problem is resolved. Electronic prescriptions are purported to reduce prescribing errors. However, studies have shown that electronic prescriptions can be prone to certain types of errors. Compounding pharmacies may present an additional obstacle for e-prescribing, as the prescribed medications are not commercially available and may not be listed in the e-prescribing software. The objectives of this study were to estimate the electronic prescription error rate in a compounding pharmacy, determine the most common error types, list the most common interventions pharmacists made, and estimate how long it took to resolve these errors. The study design was quality improvement with descriptive data. During the four weeks of data collection, the pharmacists were trained to complete a standardized data collection form when they identified an electronic prescription error. Percentages were calculated for new prescriptions, electronic prescriptions with errors, error types, and error resolution methods. In the four-week period of the study, there were 982 new prescriptions, 111 of which were electronic prescriptions. Of those 111 electronic prescriptions, 70 had errors. The electronic prescriptions error rate was 63%. The most common type of error was wrong entry field (70.3%). For this project, wrong entry field was defined to mean that the drug name was in the wrong field (81%) or that multiple entries were in the wrong field (7%). Pharmacists usually used their own judgment to resolve an error (67%). Many e-prescription errors were identified in this compounding pharmacy. When prescription errors happen, workflow and patient care are disrupted. Our goal is to discuss these findings with Surescripts and e-prescribing software companies to seek systems-based solutions.

Related Keywords: Dana Reed-Kane, PharmD, FIACP, FACA, NFPPhC, FCP, Katrina Kittell, Jacquelyn Adkins, Sarah Flocks, Thu Nguyen, e-prescribing, prescription errors, drug errors, electronic prescription, pharmacist intervention, data entry field


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