BACKGROUND: Information technology-based methods such as bar code-assisted medication administration (BCMA) systems have the potential to reduce medication administration errors (MAEs) in hospitalized patients. In practice, however, systems are often not used as intended, leading to workarounds. Workarounds may result in MAEs that may harm patients.
OBJECTIVE: The primary aim is to study the association of workarounds with MAEs in the BCMA process. Second, we will determine the frequency and type of workarounds and MAEs and explore the potential risk factors (determinants) for workarounds.
METHODS: This is a multicenter prospective study on internal medicine and surgical wards of 4 Dutch hospitals using BCMA systems to administer medication. We will include a total of 6000 individual drug administrations using direct observation to collect data.
RESULTS: The project was funded in 2014 and enrollment was completed at the end of 2016. Data analysis is under way and the first results are expected to be submitted for publication at the end of 2017.
CONCLUSIONS: If an association between workarounds and MAEs is established, this information can be used to reduce the frequency of MAEs. Information on determinants of workarounds can aid in a focused approach to reduce workarounds and thus increase patient safety.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Netherlands Trial Register NTR4355; http://www.trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp?TC=4355 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/6pqTLxc6i).