Existing user? Login

Medication errors

Better leadership and engagement key to improving error reporting, study finds

An international project funded by the Qatar National Research Fund has explored medication error reporting to better understand the problem and suggest measures for improving error reporting.

aerial view of Doha capital city of Gulf state Qatar


Findings were presented at the 4th Qatar International Pharmacy Conference in Doha, Qatar

Positive leadership and increased engagement are key to improving medication error reporting across the world, a study has found.

The two-year, international project, funded by the Qatar National Research Fund, explored aspects of medication error reporting from the perspectives of healthcare professionals and those in positions of power and influence.

The research was conducted in three phases. First the researchers explored aspects of safety culture among health professionals, including concerns over non-punitive responses to medication errors and levels of staff during evenings and weekends.

Then the team focused on the barriers that existed against healthcare workers reporting errors and found that one of the key barriers related to emotional factors, for example, some workers would consider the impact of reporting on career progression and professional reputation.

Finally, the team interviewed decision-makers in the areas of policy, healthcare practice and education to gather their thoughts on the outcomes of the first two phases of the study.

Understanding the issues

Derek Stewart, who presented the findings at the 4th Qatar International Pharmacy in Doha, explained that splitting the research into three parts enabled the team to understand the feelings of individuals working with medication every day as well as discussing measures with those in power.

“Concerns around medication error and safety are common worldwide and it is not only important to understand why but to discover what those working in and around healthcare believe will improve matters,” he said.

“While this two-year study has uncovered some enlightening results, which we believe a lot of good can come from, we are now planning a follow-up study to examine the situation in even greater detail.”

Sarah Slight, a reader in pharmacy practice at Newcastle University and associate editor for the Journal of Patient Safety, said health information technologies were important to consider when it came to reducing medication errors.

“There are different types of errors, and it is important to put electronic systems in place to help identify and prevent these errors from occurring,” she said.

New NHS reporting system

Also looking at ways to improve error reporting, the Community Pharmacy Patient Safety Group, which is made up of community pharmacy medication safety officers across the sector, is helping to test and design a new reporting and learning system for the NHS as part of the .

Over the next three years NHS Improvement is working closely with stakeholders to provide resources to support safety improvement by way of the DPSIMS project.

The new system will succeed the current National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS), which NHS Improvement says is more than 13 years old and due for an upgrade.

It will aim to meet both local and national needs in terms of accessibility to both staff and patients/carers; integrate with other systems; strike a balance of confidentiality and transparency; and support an open and honest NHS culture devoted to continuous learning and improvement of patient safety.

Anyone interested in informing the development of this project can take part in a  which is open until the end of January 2018.

Citation: Electronicjuice DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20204118

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Paediatric Drug Handling

    Written for new pharmaceutical scientists, this book provides a background in paediatric pharmacy and a comprehensive introduction to children's medication.

  • Pharmacy Case Studies

    Understand the application of therapeutics in clinical practice with Pharmacy Case Studies. This book helps you to demonstrate the knowledge gained during your studies.

  • International Research in Healthcare

    Guidance for students or researchers undertaking a multi-centre research project in health services, medicines use and professional practice.

  • Lecture Notes in Pharmacy Practice

    A comprehensive study guide which summarises the basic principles in pharmacy practice. Clear, bulleted information for quick reference.

  • MCQs in Pharmacy Practice

    A study aid with 800 MCQs. Assess your knowledge, analytical skills, and ability to apply this knowledge base in clinical practice.


Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save

Supplementary images

  • aerial view of Doha capital city of Gulf state Qatar

Jobs you might like

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.