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Original Article

IJMDC. 2020; 4(7): 1031-1035

Incomplete prescription and medication error in hospital practice: a Saudi local experience

Fatima Ibrahim Almousa, Haya Hamd Alhaqbani, Rima Jamal lsagga, Abrar Mohamed Alshehri, Ibrahim A. Alsarra.


Background: Incomplete prescription is associated with a delay in the initiation of treatment and interruption of healthcare professionals; it is also considered a risk factor that can lead to medication errors and patient harm. The aim of this study was to assess the completeness of medication orders, in general practice, to determine the prevalence and nature of medication errors including prescribing errors due to the incomplete information, and to recommend proper solutions to minimize such errors.
Methods: This observational prospective study was conducted at a governmental hospital for a period of 2 months. All handwritten prescriptions were collected at the spot of dispensing in an outpatient pharmacy, then 800 prescriptions (20 prescriptions/day) were randomly observed, checked for completeness, and assessed for the errors using a checklist.
Results: A total of 800 prescriptions were reviewed with 100% medication errors. The highest omitted factor was the patientÂ’s file number and its frequency of occurrence was more than 90%, followed by the route of administration at 83.125%. The results also indicated that approximately 27% of the prescriptions had no diagnosis specified. Moreover, another type of error occurring considerably high (43%) was the date of the
Conclusion: Handwritten prescriptions were associated with significant frequency of minor and major prescription error of omission. In addition, an illegible prescription is one of the factors which can increase the risk of medication errors. Education intervention programs and computer-aided prescription order entry can substantially contribute to lowering of these errors and impose prescription writing or other recognized and published standard.

Key words: Omission, medications errors, prescription, handwritten, adverse effects

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