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Medication Errors Highly Underreported Amongst Anesthesia Providers

By Jack H. FarnbauchApril 19, 2017

Medication errors are apparently significantly underreported by anesthesia providers, at least at certain institutions. These recent findings may reflect a culture of underreporting or fear of punitive action, despite the fact that approximately 10% of these reported medication errors caused at least temporary patient harm.After performing these reviews, the researchers found 238 self-reported medication errors out of 434,554 total cases, for an incidence of 5.5 self-reported medication errors per 10,000 cases.

Using self-reported data from the Multicenter Perioperative Outcomes Group—a consortium of international medical centers aggregating electronic health record and quality improvement data for  research—a multicenter team of researchers gathered data from July 2006 through November 2015 for potential instances of medication error.

Mark S. Hausman, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan Medical School, in Ann Arbor, and chief of anesthesiology at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System. “In fact, 44,000 to 98,000 patients die every year as a result of what we think are preventable errors, many of which may be medication errors." These results, Dr. Hausman concluded, demonstrate that there is significant room for improvement when it comes to self-reporting of medication errors among health care providers. “The incidence that we captured is astonishingly low,” he noted. “By comparison, other studies have found medication errors more in the range of one in 100 to one in 400. So we’re not doing a great job of reporting, to say the least.”

Source: Anesthesiology News