Emergency department discharge prescription errors in an academic medical center

Kelly A. Murray, April Belanger, Lauren T. Devine, Aaron Lane, Michelle E. Condren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study described discharge prescription medication errors written for emergency department patients. This study used content analysis in a cross-sectional design to systematically categorize prescription errors found in a report of 1000 discharge prescriptions submitted in the electronic medical record in February 2015. Two pharmacy team members reviewed the discharge prescription list for errors. Open-ended data were coded by an additional rater for agreement on coding categories. Coding was based upon majority rule. Descriptive statistics were used to address the study objective. Categories evaluated were patient age, provider type, drug class, and type and time of error. The discharge prescription error rate out of 1000 prescriptions was 13.4%, with “incomplete or inadequate prescription” being the most commonly detected error (58.2%). The adult and pediatric error rates were 11.7% and 22.7%, respectively. The antibiotics reviewed had the highest number of errors. The highest within-class error rates were with antianginal medications, antiparasitic medications, antacids, appetite stimulants, and probiotics. Emergency medicine residents wrote the highest percentage of prescriptions (46.7%) and had an error rate of 9.2%. Residents of other specialties wrote 340 prescriptions and had an error rate of 20.9%. Errors occurred most often between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-146
Number of pages4
JournalBaylor University Medical Center Proceedings
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


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