Wrong-Patient Orders in Obstetrics

Obstet Gynecol. 2021 Aug 1;138(2):229-235. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000004474.


Objective: To compare rates of wrong-patient orders among patients on obstetric units compared with reproductive-aged women admitted to medical-surgical units.

Methods: This was an observational study conducted in a large health system in New York between January 1, 2016, and December 31, 2018. The primary outcome was near-miss wrong-patient orders identified using the National Quality Forum-endorsed Wrong-Patient Retract-and-Reorder measure. All electronic orders placed for eligible patients during the study period were extracted retrospectively from the health system data warehouse, and the unit of analysis was the order session (consecutive orders placed by a single clinician for a patient within 60 minutes). Multilevel logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs comparing the probability of retract-and-reorder events in obstetric and medical-surgical units, overall, and in subgroups defined by clinician type and order timing.

Results: Overall, 1,329,463 order sessions were placed during the study period, including 676,643 obstetric order sessions (from 45,436 patients) and 652,820 medical-surgical order sessions (from 12,915 patients). The rate of 79.5 retract-and-reorder events per 100,000 order sessions in obstetric units was significantly higher than the rate in the general medical-surgical population of 42.3 per 100,000 order sessions (OR 1.98, 95% CI 1.64-2.39). The obstetric retract-and-reorder event rate was significantly higher for attending physicians and house staff compared with advanced practice clinicians. There were no significant differences in error rates between day and night shifts.

Conclusion: Order errors occurred more frequently on obstetric units compared with medical-surgical units. Systems strategies shown to decrease these events in other high-risk specialties should be explored in obstetrics to render safer maternity care.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hospital Units / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medical Errors / statistics & numerical data*
  • Medication Errors / statistics & numerical data
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Specialization / statistics & numerical data
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative