Exploring health professionals’ experiences of medication errors in Saudi Arabia
Background There is a paucity of literature originating from the Middle East on medication errors. Objective To explore the experiences of healthcare professionals around medication errors and medication error reporting. Setting Saudi Arabia. Method Questionnaire survey of those attending medication error continuing education sessions. Main outcome measures Experiences of medication errors in terms of number, type and severity in the preceding 12 months; barriers to reporting errors to health authorities; potential strategies to improve error reporting. Results Sixty-one (61/106, 57.5 %) questionnaires were completed. Thirty-five respondents (57.3 %) reported observing 51 errors during the preceding 12 months. Thirty-five errors (68.6 %) were described: wrong medication prescribed, dispensed or administered (11, 31.4 %); wrong dose prescribed (9, 25.7 %); inappropriate prescribing (issues of drug selection, monitoring) (9, 25.7 %); inappropriate route of administration (2), prescription duplication (2) and equipment failure (2). Patient outcomes resulting from these errors were described by the respondents as ‘caused patient harm’ in 14 instances. Three key barriers to reporting were: lack of awareness of the reporting policy; workload and time constraints associated with reporting; and unavailability of the reporting form. Conclusion Findings indicate a potential need to review medication error reporting systems in Saudi Arabia to heighten health professional awareness and improve the reporting culture.
KeywordsContinuing education Medication errors Patient safety Questionnaire Saudi Arabia
We acknowledge the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health Directorate Affairs in KSA for reviewing and supporting this research. We also thank all health professionals in the seven hospitals who participated in this research.
The research was funded by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Health Directorate Affairs in KSA.
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest to declare.
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