Assessment of the Medication Administration Errors in the Tertiary Hospital in Saudi Arabia: A prospective Observational Study

Drug administration error, hospital ward, medication error, observation, types of error


January 2, 2023


Medication errors can occur at any of the three steps of the medication use process: prescribing, dispensing and administration. Drug administration errors were the second most frequent type of medication error, after prescribing errors, but the latter were often intercepted; hence, administration errors were more probably to reach the patients. Therefore, this study was conducted to determine the frequency and types of drug administration errors in a Taif hospital ward. Prospective study based on a disguised observation technique in nine wards in a general hospital in Taif, Saudi Arabia (800 beds). A pharmacist accompanied nurses and witnessed the preparation and administration of drugs to all patients during the three drug rounds on each of six days per ward. The main outcomes were the number, type and clinical importance of errors and associated risk factors. The drug administration error rate was calculated. Relationships between the drug dose frequency, dosage form and types of medication administration error were measured. A total of 7105 medications administered by 250 nursing staff members to 700 patients were observed. Observers intervened in seven administrations. There are 1769 medication administration errors confirmed. The most common medication administration errors were drug preparation error (40.56%, n =727) then, improper dose error (18.58%, n=333); the most common drug class error was Antibiotic (38.9%, n =399) then Analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs (17%, n =176). The most drug dose frequency had Drug preparation error was seen in a drug used three times a day by 484. MAEs were more likely to occur in the evening shift compared to the morning and afternoon shifts. The study indicates that the frequency of drug administration errors in developing countries such as Malaysia is similar to that in developed countries.

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