Antimicrobial-related medication safety incidents: a regional retrospective study in West of Scotland hospitals

J.R. Covvey, A. Al-Balushi, A.C. Boyter, Y. Gourlay

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Medication-related incidents are an important consideration in enhancing patient safety in hospital care. The wide utilisation of antimicrobial therapy in this population renders these medications particularly vulnerable to errors and adverse events. To analyse the characteristics of antimicrobial therapy-related incident reports across a group of secondary care hospitals. Reports for antimicrobial-related incidents from April 2010 to December 2013 were obtained from a regional area of hospitals in National Health Service (NHS) Scotland. Reports were analysed at-large, with subset analyses of incidents resulting in patient harm/injury and those included in a multivariable regression adjusted by occupied bed days (OBD) and defined daily doses (DDD) to better ascertain areas to target for antimicrobial safety. A total of 1345 incidents were reported at a crude rate of 0.98 reports/day (95% CI: 0.93-1.03 reports/day). Penicillins (371 reports; 27.6%), aminoglycosides (358; 26.6%) and glycopeptides (210; 15.6%) were the most commonly involved classes of medications. Most incidents involved no injury/harm (514; 38.2%), but 72 reports (5.4%) did result in patient harm. Rehabilitation/Assessment (RR: 2.61, 95% CI: 1.70-4.03) and Women/Childrens (RR: 2.61, 95% CI: 1.70-4.03) had higher incident reporting rates compared to other hospital services, likely as a function of at-risk patient populations. Among the types of incidents reported, those involving issues with administration/supply were most common (RR: 2.07, 95% CI: 1.51-2.84). Incident reporting for antimicrobials identified several key areas for quality improvement in the hospital setting which can guide safety efforts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Early online date3 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • anti-infectives
  • medication errors
  • adverse events
  • Datix


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