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Zero tolerance prescribing: a strategy to reduce prescribing errors on the paediatric intensive care unit

Rachelle Booth| Emma Sturgess| Alison Taberner-Stokes| Mark Peters
Pediatric Original
Volume 38, Issue 11 / November , 2012

Pages 1858 - 1867

Abstract

Purpose

To establish the baseline prescribing error rate in a tertiary paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and to determine the impact of a zero tolerance prescribing (ZTP) policy incorporating a dedicated prescribing area and daily feedback of prescribing errors.

Methods

A prospective, non-blinded, observational study was undertaken in a 12-bed tertiary PICU over a period of 134 weeks. Baseline prescribing error data were collected on weekdays for all patients for a period of 32 weeks, following which the ZTP policy was introduced. Daily error feedback was introduced after a further 12 months. Errors were sub-classified as ‘clinical’, ‘non-clinical’ and ‘infusion prescription’ errors and the effects of interventions considered separately.

Results

The baseline combined prescribing error rate was 892 (95 % confidence interval (CI) 765–1,019) errors per 1,000 PICU occupied bed days (OBDs), comprising 25.6 % clinical, 44 % non-clinical and 30.4 % infusion prescription errors. The combined interventions of ZTP plus daily error feedback were associated with a reduction in the combined prescribing error rate to 447 (95 % CI 389–504) errors per 1,000 OBDs (p < 0.0001), an absolute risk reduction of 44.5 % (95 % CI 40.8–48.0 %). Introduction of the ZTP policy was associated with a significant decrease in clinical and infusion prescription errors, while the introduction of daily error feedback was associated with a significant reduction in non-clinical prescribing errors.

Conclusion

The combined interventions of ZTP and daily error feedback were associated with a significant reduction in prescribing errors in the PICU, in line with Department of Health requirements of a 40 % reduction within 5 years.

Keywords

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