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An educational and audit tool to reduce prescribing error in intensive care
  1. A N Thomas,
  2. E M Boxall,
  3. S K Laha,
  4. A J Day,
  5. D Grundy
  1. Intensive Care Unit Hope Hospital, Salford, UK
  1. Dr A Thomas, Department of Intensive Care, Hope Hospital, Salford M6 8DH, UK; tony.thomas{at}


Aim: To reduce prescribing errors in an intensive care unit by providing prescriber education in tutorials, ward-based teaching and feedback in 3-monthly cycles with each new group of trainee medical staff.

Methods: Prescribing audits were conducted three times in each 3-month cycle, once pretraining, once post-training and a final audit after 6 weeks. The audit information was fed back to prescribers with their correct prescribing rates, rates for individual error types and total error rates together with anonymised information about other prescribers’ error rates.

Results: The percentage of prescriptions with errors decreased over each 3-month cycle (pretraining 25%, 19%, (one missing data point), post-training 23%, 6%, 11%, final audit 7%, 3%, 5% (p<0.0005)). The total number of prescriptions and error rates varied widely between trainees (data collection one; cycle two: range of prescriptions written: 1–61, median 18; error rate: 0–100%; median: 15%).

Conclusion: Prescriber education and feedback reduce manual prescribing errors in intensive care.

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  • Competing interests: None.