Predictors of medication errors among elderly hospitalized patients

Debra Matsen Picone, Marita G. Titler, Joanne Dochterman, Leah Shever, Taikyoung Kim, Paul Abramowitz, Mary Kanak, Rui Qin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Medication errors are a serious safety concern and most errors are preventable. A retrospective study design was employed to describe medication errors experienced during 10187 hospitalizations of elderly patients admitted to a Midwest teaching hospital between July 1, 1998 and December 31, 2001 and to determine the factors predictive of medication errors. The model considered patient characteristics, clinical conditions, interventions, and nursing unit characteristics. The dependent variable, medication error, was measured using a voluntary incident reporting system. There were 861 medication errors; 96% may have been preventable. Most errors were omissions errors (48.8%) and the source was administration (54%) or transcription errors (38%). Variables associated with a medication error included unique number of medications (polypharmacy), patient gender and race, RN staffing changes, medical and nursing interventions, and specific pharmacological agents. Further validation of this explanatory model and focused interventions may help decrease the incidence of medication errors. (Am J Med Qual 2008; 23:115-127).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • Adverse drug events
  • Medication errors
  • Retrospective study
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of medication errors among elderly hospitalized patients'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this