International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 1004–1007 | Cite as

Analysis of medication errors at a large tertiary care hospital in Saudi Arabia: a retrospective analysis

  • Sheraz AliEmail author
  • Nourah Ibrahim Aboheimed
  • Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Zaagi
  • Dalal Salem Al-Dossari
Short Research Report


Background Medication errors (MEs) are common in health care settings and pose a threat for the hospitalized population. Therefore, aspects of MEs were explored in a tertiary setting serving a diverse population. Objective To examine the occurrence, severity and reporting of MEs in hospitalized patients. Methods This retrospective analysis included 10,683 ME report forms that were received by the Medication Safety Unit of King Saud Medical City (KSMC) in 2015. ME outcomes were determined according to the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) Index for categorizing MEs algorithm. Results A total of 13,677 MEs in 912,500 prescriptions were reported. The incidence rate of MEs was 1.5% (13,677/912,500). The highest percentage (42.2%) of MEs occurred during the transcription stage, and 70.0% of MEs were reported as near misses. Wrong frequency and wrong concentration accounted for nearly half of the MEs. Conclusion We found 1.5 MEs per 100 prescriptions; more than two-thirds of the MEs were preventable and were intercepted before reaching the patients. Most MEs reported by pharmacists occurred at the transcription stage while wrong frequency was the most common error type encountered. Further studies should explore the clinical consequences of MEs at a healthcare institution.


Error reporting Medication errors Patients Pharmacists Saudi Arabia 



This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflicts of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11096_2017_514_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 18 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.King Saud Medical CityMinistry of HealthRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Institute of BiomedicineUniversity of Eastern FinlandKuopioFinland

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