Background Relatively little is known about how scorecards presenting performance indicators influence medication safety. We evaluated the effects of implementing a ward-level medication safety scorecard piloted in two English NHS hospitals and factors influencing these.
Methods We used a mixed methods, controlled before and after design. At baseline, wards were audited on medication safety indicators; during the ‘feedback’ phase scorecard results were presented to intervention wards on a weekly basis over 7 weeks. We interviewed 49 staff, including clinicians and managers, about scorecard implementation.
Results At baseline, 18.7% of patients (total n=630) had incomplete allergy documentation; 53.4% of patients (n=574) experienced a drug omission in the preceding 24 h; 22.5% of omitted doses were classified as ‘critical’; 22.1% of patients (n=482) either had ID wristbands not reflecting their allergy status or no ID wristband; and 45.3% of patients (n=237) had drugs that were either unlabelled or labelled for another patient in their drug lockers. The quantitative analysis found no significant improvement in intervention wards following scorecard feedback. Interviews suggested staff were interested in scorecard feedback and described process and culture changes. Factors influencing scorecard implementation included ‘normalisation’ of errors, study duration, ward leadership, capacity to engage and learning preferences.
Discussion Presenting evidence-based performance indicators may potentially influence staff behaviour. Several practical and cultural factors may limit feedback effectiveness and should be considered when developing improvement interventions. Quality scorecards should be designed with care, attending to evidence of indicators’ effectiveness and how indicators and overall scorecard composition fit the intended audience.
- Medication Safety
- Patient Safety
- Quality Improvement
- Audit and Feedback
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