Medication Errors in United States Hospitals

C. A. Bond, PharmD, FASHP, FCCP, Cynthia L. Raehl, PharmD, FASHP, FCCP, and Todd Franke, PhD


Pharmacotherapy. 2001;21(9) 

In This Article


This is the first large-scale study to determine relationships between hospital demographics, staffing, pharmacy variables, health care outcomes (severity of illness-adjusted mortality rates, drug costs, total cost of care, and length of stay) and medication errors. The multiple regression analysis found the following factors to be associated with increased medication errors/occupied bed/year: lack of pharmacy teaching affiliation, centralized pharmacists, number of registered nurses/occupied bed, number of registered pharmacists/occupied bed, hospital mortality rate, and total cost of care/occupied bed/year. Factors associated with decreased medication errors were location in the Mid-Atlantic census region, affiliation with a pharmacy teaching program, decentralized pharmacists, and the number of medical residents/occupied bed. It our sincere hope that pharmacy directors, clinicians, hospital adminis-trators, and health care policy consultants will use the results of this study to reduce the risks for medication errors. Clearly, hospital staffing models should consider decentralized pharma-cists and linkage to teaching programs.


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