The effect of an interventional program on the occurrence of medication errors in children

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Nov;138:110373. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2020.110373. Epub 2020 Sep 7.


Objectives: Medication errors in hospitalized children represent a serious health problem; these include dosing errors, administration route errors, errors in identifying the patient and more. The rates of medication errors are considered higher in children compared to adults because, among other reasons, the pediatric dose is calculated according to the child's weight or body surface. This study aims to examine the incidence of pediatric medication dosing errors and the impact of an intervention program in reducing these errors and related adverse effects in a cohort of hospitalized children at an otolaryngology department.

Methods: We reviewed 100 computerized medical reports of hospitalized children from 2017 to 2018, including 50 inpatient admissions prior to the implementation of an intervention program and 50 inpatient admissions following its implementation. Data includes demographic variables, number of hospitalization days, rates and types of medication errors and adverse effects. We have analyzed the rates of medication errors before and after implementation of an interventional program.

Results: The average patient age was 5.26 and the demographic features of the two groups were similar. We identified 23.2% medication dosing errors in medications prescribed to the patients (n = 33) and 17.6% medication dosing errors in total medications administered to the patients (n = 64) in the pre-intervention group (PREG). In the post-intervention group (POSG) we identified 10.6% medication dosing errors in prescriptions prescribed to the patients (n = 12) and 7% medication dosing errors in the total drugs administered to the patients (n = 21). The intervention program resulted in 46% reduction of prescription errors; No adverse effects were recorded.

Conclusions: Medication dosing errors among hospitalized children are common, although rates of adverse events are low. The suggested intervention program demonstrates a significant reduction in the rates of these errors, thus improving the safety of hospitalized children.

Keywords: Adverse events; Dosage; Intervention; Medication; Otolaryngology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Otolaryngology
  • Program Evaluation