Acutely ill and injured children treated at four rural emergency departments in Northern California had a high risk of medication errors, likely because of inadequate or incomplete documentation, according to a study in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
Researchers found medication errors among 39% of all pediatric patients treated at the EDs, but the rate of medication errors jumped to 51.1% when researchers focused only on patients who had medication ordered or who received medications in the EDs.
To reduce medication errors in rural EDs, the study advocates:
- Requiring a general or pediatric pharmacist to review medication orders;
- Adopting computerized physician order entry and automated alerts;
- Using preprinted medication order sheets; and
- Providing telemedicine or telepharmacy services (Marcin et al., Annals of Emergency Medicine, October 2007).