International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 1013–1017 | Cite as

Exploring the impact of feedback on prescribing error rates: a pilot study

  • Michael LloydEmail author
  • Simon David Watmough
  • Sarah Victoria O’Brien
  • Kevin Hardy
  • Niall Furlong
Short Research Report


Background Prescribing errors are prevalent in hospital settings with feedback identified as one potential error reduction strategy. Hospital pharmacists work alongside prescribers at ward level and are credible facilitators of prescribing error feedback. A formalised programme of pharmacist-led prescribing error feedback was designed and implemented Objective To determine the impact of the feedback intervention on prescribing error rates. Method Prospective prescribing audits were undertaken at baseline for control (n = 11) and intervention group (n = 10) prescribers. The intervention group received pharmacist-led, individualised constructive feedback on their prescribing, whilst the control group continued with existing practice. Prescribing was re-audited following 3-months of the intervention. Data were analysed using chi-squared and independent t-tests. Results Error frequency (123/641 intervention and 121/649 control) was comparable between groups at baseline (p = 0.819) with significant differences (90/1677 intervention and 236/984 control) post intervention (p = <0.005). Prescribing error rates were lower in the intervention group (mean change of −11.5%) and higher in the control group (mean change of +5.9%) following the intervention, with a mean significant difference of 17.4% (SD 4.7, 95% CI, −27.3 to −7.6), t = −3.694, p < 0.05, between groups. Conclusion Pharmacist-led prescribing error feedback positively influences prescribing. This intervention shows promise for wider application in hospital settings to optimise patient safety.


Feedback Pharmacist Prescriber Prescribing error Reduction United Kingdom 



The authors would like to thank all pharmacists and doctors who have participated in this study.


No funding was received for the study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 33 kb)
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Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 19 kb)
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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmacy DepartmentSt. Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustWhiston, MerseysideUK
  2. 2.Postgraduate Professional Development, Faculty of Health and Social CareEdge Hill UniversityOrmskirkUK
  3. 3.St. Helens CCGSt. Helens ChambersMerseysideUK
  4. 4.St. Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS TrustWhiston, MerseysideUK

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