Background Injectable medication errors primarily occur during preparation and administration. Currently, South Korea is experiencing chronic pharmacist shortages. Moreover, pharmacists have not routinely conducted prescription monitoring for intravenous compatibility. In the present study, we analysed the implementation of a pre-issue monitoring program using recently released cloud-based software to provide information on intravenous compatibility in the pharmacy at a general hospital in South Korea.
Objectives The aims of this study were to determine whether adding an intravenous drug prescription review to pharmacists’ actual work scope could promote patient safety, and to assess the impact of this new task on pharmacists’ workload.
Methods Data on intravenous drugs prescribed in the intensive care unit and haematology-oncology ward were prospectively collected during January 2020. Four quantitative items were evaluated: the run-time, intervention ratio, acceptance ratio, and the information completeness ratio with regard to the compatibility of intravenous drugs.
Results The mean run-time of two pharmacists was 18.1 min in the intensive care unit and 8.7 min in the haematology-oncology ward (p<0.001). Significant differences were also found between the intensive care unit and the haematology-oncology wards in terms of the mean intervention ratio (25.3% vs 5.3%, respectively; p<0.001) and the information completeness ratio (38.3% vs 34.0%, respectively; p=0.007). However, the mean acceptance ratio was comparable (90.4% in the intensive care unit and 100% in the haematology-oncology ward; p=0.239). The intravenous pairs that most frequently triggered interventions were tazobactam/piperacillin and famotidine in the intensive care unit, and vincristine and sodium bicarbonate in the haematology-oncology ward.
Conclusion This study suggests that despite a shortage of pharmacists, intravenous compatibility can be monitored before issuing injectable products in all wards. Because the prescribing pattern of injections varies across wards, pharmacists’ tasks should be established accordingly. To improve the completeness of information, efforts to generate more evidence should continue.
- drug incompatibility
- pharmacy service, hospital
- drug monitoring
- administration, intravenous
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. All datasets analysed in the current study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
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