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The underreporting of medication errors: A retrospective and comparative root cause analysis in an acute mental health unit over a 3-year period

Morrison, M., Cope, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-4528-4268 and Murray, M. (2018) The underreporting of medication errors: A retrospective and comparative root cause analysis in an acute mental health unit over a 3-year period. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27 (6). pp. 1719-1728.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1111/inm.12475
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Abstract

Medication errors remain a commonly reported clinical incident in health care as highlighted by the World Health Organization's focus to reduce medication‐related harm. This retrospective quantitative analysis examined medication errors reported by staff using an electronic Clinical Incident Management System (CIMS) during a 3‐year period from April 2014 to April 2017 at a metropolitan mental health ward in Western Australia. The aim of the project was to identify types of medication errors and the context in which they occur and to consider recourse so that medication errors can be reduced. Data were retrieved from the Clinical Incident Management System database and concerned medication incidents from categorized tiers within the system. Areas requiring improvement were identified, and the quality of the documented data captured in the database was reviewed for themes pertaining to medication errors. Content analysis provided insight into the following issues: (i) frequency of problem, (ii) when the problem was detected, and (iii) characteristics of the error (classification of drug/s, where the error occurred, what time the error occurred, what day of the week it occurred, and patient outcome). Data were compared to the state‐wide results published in the Your Safety in Our Hands (2016) report. Results indicated several areas upon which quality improvement activities could be focused. These include the following: structural changes; changes to policy and practice; changes to individual responsibilities; improving workplace culture to counteract underreporting of medication errors; and improvement in safety and quality administration of medications within a mental health setting.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Health Professions
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2018 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/41738
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