Effects of technological interventions on the safety of a medication-use system

Kathleen A. Skibinski, Barbara A. White, Lawrence I.Kuei Lin, Yuping Dong, Wenting Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Purpose. A study was conducted to assess the effects and outcomes of implementing new technology into the medication-use process. Methods. A pharmacy computer system, automated dispensing cabinets, and point-of-care products were implemented. The hypotheses of the study were that system errors in each phase of the medication-use process would decrease with the implementation of each technological application and that workload measures, such as staffing and inventory levels, would increase. Using a scripted questionnaire, interviews of participating staff (registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nursing-unit clerks, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, physicians, and physician assistants) were conducted to determine their impressions of the safety of the medication-use system before and after the implementation of technology. All hospitalwide errors were reported monthly between November 2002 and July 2005 by the number of errors per 1000 patient days and were categorized by error type. The accuracy of the medication administration record was examined; the pharmacy dispensing process was evaluated for accuracy, timeliness, and system changes; the accuracy of medication administration was observed; and staffing changes were also evaluated. Results. Because of the technology implementation, the accuracy of patient identification was introduced, process changes and technological design identified potential failure modes in the medication administration process, inventory increased, turn-around time to process medication doses in the pharmacy decreased, accuracy of medication administration increased, and the staffing of nurses and pharmacists increased. Conclusion. Implementation of new technology into the medication management system standardized the medication administration processes, decreased turnaround time for processing medication orders, and increased accuracy of medication administration to patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-96
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Automation
  • Computers
  • Dispensing
  • Drug administration
  • Drug use
  • Errors, medication
  • Identification
  • Inventory
  • Manpower
  • Patients
  • Pharmacy, institutional, hospital
  • Quality assurance
  • Technology
  • Time studies
  • Workload

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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