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The Impact of Medication Errors on Patients, Healthcare Providers, and Hospitals

A medication error is any preventable event caused by inappropriate medication use by a patient, healthcare provider, or consumer. Across the world, medical errors are a serious concern as they are a leading concern of death, prolonged hospitalization, increased outpatient visits, and increased management costs. Over the years, various studies have been conducted to find the cause of medical errors, their impact, and the best practices to prevent them. This study discusses the impact of medication errors on patients, hospitals, and healthcare providers. To address the identified problem, the study seeks to answer the EBP question: Does information technology decrease medical errors compared to normal practice for healthcare professionals administering medication? The question guides this study, and it is the main focus of the literature review.

PICO Components

The clinical issue discussed in this study is medication errors, and this problem affects various stakeholders, including patients and healthcare providers. The problem also affects the reputation of healthcare facilities or hospitals. However, there are various intervention measures to prevent medication errors in hospitals, as discussed in this study.

Patients, population, or problem

Medication errors have a significant impact on patients, and in many cases, it leads to serious harm, such as death. The effects of medication errors may include adverse drug reactions in a patient. When wrong medications are administered to a patient, they can cause adverse reactions, and some of these reactions are severe. Some of the adverse reactions include vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and other severe symptoms. Such reactions are distressing and uncomfortable for the patient. Additionally, medication errors also lead to delayed treatment for patients. Suppose a medication error occurs, it may delay the patient’s treatment, which can be particularly problematic in cases where time is of the essence, such as in the treatment of cancer or heart disease. Medication error also leads to the worsening of the underlying conditions. In some cases, medication errors may contribute to the escalation of underlying issues such as heart attacks and diabetes because these are sensitive conditions. Loss of trust in healthcare providers where patients may lose trust in their providers, which has long-term effects on growth in the healthcare sector.


This study provides an intervention measure through the use of modern technology. The possible intervention to prevent medication errors includes the use of modern technology. The use of modern information technology can eradicate medication errors in healthcare systems. First, the use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) provides a centralized location for healthcare providers to access a patient’s history, test results, medication, and other important information. Having access to patients’ information can reduce errors caused by incomplete or inaccurate information. Another intervention can be Decision Support System (DSS) which is a computer program that aids healthcare providers in making decisions by providing evidence-based recommendations and alerts to any potential error. Additionally, the use of Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA) can reduce medication errors because it is used to scan and verify a patient’s medication before administration. This can help in ensuring that medications prescribed to patients are accurate and hence there is consistency between patients’ data and medications provided to them.


Without the use of modern technology, medication errors may continue, but with the administration and use of modern information technology, it would be easier to identify the right medications for patients, and instances or cases of wrong medication will reduce significantly.


The use of modern technology, especially the use of information technology, would lead to more patient satisfaction and the protection of lives. Cases of medication errors will reduce significantly, and there will be more patient satisfaction. There will be increased trust in healthcare providers, and patients will be more comfortable to attend to medication centers.

EBP Question

The evidence-based practice (EPB) question addressed in this study is: Does information technology decrease medical errors compared to normal practice for healthcare professionals administering medication? By answering this question, the study would provide a solution to a clinical problem that significantly affects the treatment outcome and the credibility of health providers.

Literature Review

Research-Based Article

Research that was conducted by Devin et al. (2020) reveals the role of information technology in reducing or dealing with medical errors and improving patient safety. The background of the study discusses that Medication errors are among medical errors that threaten the life of patients and affect the reputation of healthcare providers. The specifically discussed the use of Health Information Technology (HIT) and its contribution in reducing prescribing errors, and it also addresses some technology-generated errors. The study found out that medication errors cost governments and healthcare systems money every year, amounting to $42 billion. These medical errors frequently originated from the prescription stage. The research methodology used in the study includes the PRISMA and Synthesis without meta-analysis. The studies that were included in the study are those that reported on HIT’s impact on prescribing errors in hospitals. The researchers analyzed data using units of exposure. The study also used the review manager version to calculate or with 95% confidence intervals for the used studies. The conclusion of the study is that Prescribing HIT is always associated with the reduction of medication errors in hospital setups. The study did not conduct a detailed analysis for the studies that were reviewed.

Non-research Article

The article written by Alotaibi and Federico (2018) reviewed the currently available scientific evidence on available information technologies for improving patient safety and reducing instances of medication errors. The authors of the article concluded that information technology plays a huge role in increasing patient safety and reducing instances of medication errors. The study gives evidence of what physicians think about the information systems that they use and instances of medication errors. The study discusses various systems used in hospitals, and it found that 33% of alerts had been ignored by physicians hence it was discovered that if the physicians played their role, they would have avoided medication errors. The non-research article proposes that physicians should pay attention to HIT alerts concerning medication errors. Thus, the article answers the EBP question by noting that information technology plays an important role in dealing with medication errors.


Physicians should fully rely on information technology to make prescriptions, and patients’ data should be used while making medication decisions. Physicians should never ignore medication alerts, and they should act accordingly in nay instance when there is medication alert, and this would help in reducing instances of medication errors. Three stakeholders that should be engaged include physicians, technological departments, and health researchers. One barrier that can be encountered in the implementation of the recommendations is the high cost of information technology and the lack of technical know-how on how to use the technology by physicians. The strategy that can be used to overcome the barrier is offering education to physicians on the use of information technology software. Healthcare departments should also allocate more budget to healthcare information technology.


Alotaibi, Y. and Federico, F. (2018). The impact of health information technology on patient safety. Saudi Medical Journal, [online] 38(12), pp.1173–1180. doi

Devin, J., Cleary, B. J., & Cullinan, S. (2020). The impact of health information technology on prescribing errors in hospitals: a systematic review and behavior change technique analysis. Systematic Reviews9(1), 1-17.


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