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Decreasing paediatric prescribing errors in a district general hospital


Background: In paediatric inpatients, medication errors occur as frequently as 1 in 4.2 drug orders, with up to 80% of these being prescribing errors.

Context: The children’s unit of a district general hospital in West Yorkshire, UK.

Key measures for improvement: Prescribing errors and preventable adverse drug events

Strategies for change: (1) The introduction of a junior doctor prescribing tutorial. (2) The introduction of a bedside prescribing guideline.

Effects of change: The introduction of the junior doctor prescribing tutorial decreased the prescribing errors by 46%. The introduction of a bedside prescribing guideline did not decrease prescribing errors but may have been helpful to those doctors unable to attend a prescribing tutorial.

Lessons learnt: By investing time and providing appropriate written resources, we have been able to reduce our paediatric prescribing errors on the children’s ward by almost half.

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