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Prescription Errors in Brazilian Hospitals: a Multi-Centre Exploratory Survey

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Miasso, Adriana Inocenti, Oliveira, Regina Célia de, Silva, Ana Elisa Bauer de Camargo, Lyra Junior, Divaldo Pereira de, Gimenes, Fernanda Raphael Escobar, Fakih, Flávio Trevisan, & Cassiani, Sílvia Helena De Bortoli. (2009). Prescription errors in Brazilian hospitals: a multi-centre exploratory survey. Cadernos de Saúde Pública, 25(2), 313-320. https://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2009000200009

In Brazil, millions of prescriptions do not follow the legal requirements necessary to guarantee the correct dispensing and administration of medication. This multi-centre exploratory study aimed to analyze the appropriateness of prescriptions at four Brazilian hospitals and to identify possible errors caused by inadequacies. The sample consisted of 864 prescriptions obtained at hospital medical clinics in January 2003. Data was collected by three nurse researchers during one week using a standard data sheet that included items about: the type of prescription; legibility; completeness; use of abbreviations; existence of changes and erasures. There were statistically significant differences between incomplete electronic prescriptions at hospital A, and handwritten ones from hospitals C (Ç2 = 12.703 and p < 0.001) and D (Ç2 = 14.074 and p < 0.001). Abbreviations were used in more than 80% of prescriptions at hospitals B, C and D. Changes were found in prescriptions at all hospitals, with higher levels at hospitals B (35.2%) and A (25.3%). This study identified a range of vulnerable points in the prescription phase of the medication system at the hospitals. Physicians, pharmacists and nurses should therefore jointly propose strategies to avoid these prescription errors.

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