Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemotherapy Errors Rare, But Have Potential For Serious Consequences

Date:
October 24, 2005
Source:
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Summary:
About one out of 30 chemotherapy orders at three ambulatory infusion clinics had errors, and one in 50 orders had a serious error, according to a new study. The study, performed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found most but not all errors were detected before they reached the patient. None was life-threatening or caused patient harm. Still, an accompanying editorial says the study underscores the need to implement safer controls of drug ordering and dispensing at chemotherapy infusion clinics.

About one out of 30 chemotherapy orders at three ambulatory infusion clinics had errors, and one in 50 orders had a serious error, according to a study appearing in the December 1, 2005 issue of CANCER (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/cancer-newsroom), a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. The study, performed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, found most but not all errors were detected before they reached the patient. None was life-threatening or caused patient harm. Still, an accompanying editorial says the study underscores the need to implement safer controls of drug ordering and dispensing at chemotherapy infusion clinics.

Medication errors in hospitals are a stark reminder of the potential harm that can occur when patients are admitted to the hospital. While most medications are well tolerated, a few classes are toxic and require complex dosing regimens, such as those used in chemotherapy. Even a low error rate from these medications could potentially lead to significant harm, including death.

Aside from a few case reports in journals and popular media, little research has investigated the error rate of chemotherapy orders at outpatient clinics or hospitals. Some individual institutions that have been affected by these reported errors, such as the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (a member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center), have made extensive changes to prevent such errors, such as computerization of the medication ordering system.

Led by Tejal K. Gandhi, M.D., M.P.H. and Sylvia B. Bartel, R.Ph., M.H.P., researchers from the Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the Harvard School of Public Health reviewed over 10,100 medication orders from one pediatric and two adult ambulatory clinics, which used either a paper or computerized medication ordering system.

The researchers used a strict definition of error and counted any mistake in the medication process, including ordering, dispensing, transcribing, administering, and monitoring.

The review of orders demonstrated an overall medication error rate of three percent and a serious error rate of two percent, less than the five percent rate on all orders identified in previous studies. Categorized according to the severity of the error, 82 percent of the errors in adults and 60 percent in children had the potential to cause an adverse drug event (ADE) had they reached a patient. Of these, approximately 33 percent could have caused serious harm. Nearly half were intercepted by existing systemic checks before they reached the patient and none actually caused an ADE.

In the adult clinics, which used a computerized ordering system, the most frequent errors were due to omission of dosages and orders not being discontinued. In the pediatric clinic, which used a paper-based ordering system, the most frequent errors were due to orders not being discontinued and incorrect dosages.

###

In an accompanying editorial, Jonathan R. Nebeker, M.S., M.D. and Charles L. Bennett, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.P. write that the study "represents an important step in implementing computerized solutions and other system changes that are designed to improve pharmaceutical safety in the ambulatory oncology setting."

Article: "Medication Safety in the Ambulatory Chemotherapy Setting," Tejal K. Gandhi, Sylvia B. Bartel, Lawrence N. Shulman, Deborah Verrier, Elisabeth Burdick, Angela Cleary, Jeffrey M. Rothschild, Lucian L. Leape, David W. Bates, CANCER; Published Online: October 24, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21442); Print Issue Date: December 1, 2005.

Editorial: "Reducing Adverse Drug Events in the Outpatient Chemotherapy Setting: Attention Must be Paid," Jonathan R. Nebeker, Charles L. Bennett, CANCER; Published Online: October 24, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21445); Print Issue Date: December 1, 2005.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Chemotherapy Errors Rare, But Have Potential For Serious Consequences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051024081639.htm>.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. (2005, October 24). Chemotherapy Errors Rare, But Have Potential For Serious Consequences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051024081639.htm
John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. "Chemotherapy Errors Rare, But Have Potential For Serious Consequences." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051024081639.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Predicting Heart Transplant Rejection With a Blood Test

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Now a new approach to rejection of donor organs could change the way doctors predict transplant rejection…without expensive, invasive procedures. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Better Braces That Vibrate

Better Braces That Vibrate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) The length of time you have to keep your braces on could be cut in half thanks to a new device that speeds up the process. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stroke in Young Adults

Stroke in Young Adults

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A stroke can happen at any time and affect anyone regardless of age. This mother chose to give her son independence and continue to live a normal life after he had a stroke at 18 years old. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins