Beijing, China – Chinese inpatients have experienced overuse of intravenous medications, with a total of 10.4 billion infusion bottles for 1.3 billion Chinese people annually, approximately 8 infusion bottles per capita in 2009. However, few studies have yet been published regarding to the nature of intravenous medication errors in Chinese hospitals.

Researchers from Auburn University conducted a direct observational study to examine the current intravenous medication distribution systems in a large teaching hospital in Beijing, China.

As described in the article, “Incidence of Intravenous Medication Errors in a Chinese Hospital,“ published in Value in Health Regional Issues Volume 6 focusing on Asia, this study  measured the frequency of intravenous medication errors and identified the clinical importance of errors.

The overall intravenous error rate was 12.8% (76 errors out of a total of 593 observed doses). The most frequent error was wrong dose errors (42%), followed by wrong time (29%), omission (21%), unordered dose (5%), and extra dose (3%). Among Total Parenteral Nutrition dose errors, 81% of errors (13 out of 16 errors) were considered having potentially significant clinical consequences. Such errors included insulin, potassium chloride for injection concentrate and sodium chloride for injection concentrate.

“It is considered extremely important to ensure quality and safety in the intravenous medication distribution system which involves multiple preparation processes including multiple ingredients. These medications cause immediate onsite effects in the patients,” said the study’s corresponding author, Qian Ding, researcher of medication errors and Assistant Professor at Ferris State University College of Pharmacy. “Such findings of medication errors suggest more aggressive efforts to improve current intravenous medication distribution systems to prevent potential injuries to patients. Results from this study could help develop public health strategies to improve the intravenous medication preparation process and quality of healthcare by reducing medication errors.”

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