Table 3

Medication administration error (MAE) subcategories included in 16 UK observational studies

MAE subcategories (as per terminology used in studies)Dean et al10Ridge et al20Gethins21Ho et al22Cavell and Hughes23Hartley and Dhillon24Taxis et al25Dean and Barber26Bruce and Wong27Taxis and Barber28Wirtz et al11Franklin et al29Franklin et al30Conroy et al31Ghaleb et al32Kelly35Total
2Wrong dose/improper dose*14
3Wrong dosage form/wrong form/wrong preparation selected/wrong pharmaceutical form/wrong formulation*13
4Deteriorated drug/expired drug*(✓)12
5Extra dose/unordered dose*10
6Wrong drug✓†10
7Unordered drug/unauthorised drug/unprescribed drug*✓†10
8Wrong route*9
9Wrong dose preparation/wrong preparation technique/wrong technique/wrong preparation*8
11Wrong patient(✓)✓†4
12Wrong rate of administration*4
13Drug incompatibility4
14Wrong time ±30 min*(**)(**)3
15Wrong administration technique*3
16Wrong time ±1 h(**)(**)(**)(**)(**)3
17Fast IV bolus2
18Wrong diluent2
19Wrong time—not specified2
21Wrong preparation1
22Administration of a drug without a valid prescription✓†1
23Incomplete labeling1
24Wrong base solution content1
25Errors in solvent/diluent1
26Fast administration through a central line 1
27Fast administration through a peripheral line1
28Other administration errors1
29Other preparation errors1
30Preparation of an unauthorised drug1
31Preparation of wrong dose1
32Preparation of wrong drug1
33Wrong dose preparation1
34Wrong solvent1
35Wrong volume of diluent1
36Wrong volume of solvent1
37Errors with inhalers/nebuliser administration1
38Errors with oral/gastrostomy drug administration1
39Errors with IV drug administration1
40Incorrect rate of IV administrations1
41Left drug by patient's bedside without checking drug administration1
42Omission of nurses’ signature following administration1
43Wrong dose preparation and administration1
44Wrong time ±2 h(**)(**)(**)0
Types of dose observed (non-IV, IV, or both types)Non IVBothNon IVNon IVNon IVIVNon IVNon IVIVIVIVBothBothBothBothNon-IV
  • *Indicate subcategories that were listed by Allan and Barker5 ✓ reported by the study, (✓) reported in a subanalysis of causes of MAEs and not as an MAE subcategory, (**) measured but not considered an error.

  • †Study used ‘unauthorised drug’ to include wrong drug, wrong patient and administration of a drug without a valid prescription and the number of errors was reported separately.

  • IV, intravenous.