Pharmacist Participation in Medical Rounds Reduces Medication Errors

Kimberly K. Scarsi, Michael A. Fotis, Gary A. Noskin


Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002;59(21) 

In This Article


Despite increasing interest in medication errors, little is known about their causes and preventability. Although it is widely recognized that medication errors are widespread, changing the culture of health care to facilitate their reporting has been difficult. While all physicians are instructed in the fundamentals of medication use, clinical pharmacists are trained to recognize, understand, and prevent medication errors.[4] Leape et al.[5] evaluated the impact of pharmacist participation in medical rounds in an intensive care unit on the occurrence of medication errors and adverse events. They found a 66% reduction in adverse events related to preventable errors when a pharmacist participated in daily morning rounds. On the basis of these results, we sought to evaluate the impact of pharmacist participation on a general medicine service on the occurrence and duration of medication errors. We performed a prospective observational investigation to quantify the extent and duration of medication errors and their impact on patient outcome when a pharmacist participated in daily medical rounds. Our objectives were to prevent medication errors from occurring at the time of prescribing and from continuing once they were identified and to improve the reporting of medication errors.