Reducing medication errors involving antiretroviral therapy with targeted electronic medical record modifications

AIDS Care. 2019 Jul;31(7):893-896. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2019.1566512. Epub 2019 Jan 22.


Medication errors are common among HIV-infected patients on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), especially when transitioning to the inpatient setting. In previous studies, medication error rates among hospitalized patients on ART have been reported to exceed 50%. When patients receiving ART are admitted to the hospital, medication errors can be prevented through optimization of administration instructions and dosing defaults in order-entry screens in the electronic medical record (EMR). We sought to evaluate the impact of EMR modifications (defaulted doses, frequencies, and administration instructions) implemented to improve the order-entry process and reduce errors. All adult patients admitted between 10/1/2010-3/31/2012 (pre-EMR modification) and 10/1/2013-3/31/2014 (post-EMR modification) that continued on ART upon admission were included. The primary outcome was the overall rate of medication errors identified through review by the antimicrobial stewardship program (ASP). We also characterized the types of medication errors identified during the two time periods. Following EMR modifications, the medication error rate identified through ASP review was reduced from 50.2% to 28.2% (P < 0.01). The number of medication related errors relating to dosage (regimens requiring dose optimization, renal dose adjustment, and dose timing) were reduced by 22% (P < 0.01). Modifications at the anti-retroviral medication order-entry screens in the EMR significantly reduced medication errors, particularly with respect to dosing and dose timing.

Keywords: Medication safety; anti-retroviral therapy; antimicrobial stewardship.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship / methods
  • Antimicrobial Stewardship / standards
  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active*
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Inpatients
  • Medication Errors*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacists
  • Quality of Health Care