Epidemiology of and Risk Factors for Harmful Anti-Infective Medication Errors in a Pediatric Hospital

Anjali Modi, Ellen Germain, Vijaya L. Soma, Iona M. Munjal, Michael L. Rinke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Literature is limited on pediatric anti-infective medication errors. There is a pressing need for additional research, as studies suggest high rates of overall pediatric medication errors and known harmful side effect profiles for anti-infective medications with narrow dosing ranges. This study aimed to identify risk factors related to harmful anti-infective medication errors in pediatric patients. Methods: A retrospective chart review of all voluntary error reports involving anti-infective medication errors and pediatric patients (0 to < 22 years old) reported June 2014–December 2015 was conducted. Error reports were generated using the hospital's general error reporting system and a pharmacy-based patient surveillance reporting system and were stratified based on the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention (NCC MERP) Medication Error Index. Harmful errors were compared to nonharmful errors using Fisher's exact test. Results: Of 338 anti-infective medication–related error reports, 13.6% of voluntarily reported errors reached the patient and 1.5% resulted in harm to the patient and required additional monitoring, interventions, and/or prolonged hospitalization. Antibacterials comprised 93.8% of all error reports, with beta-lactams (63.0%), macrolides (6.5%) and glycopeptides (6.2%) the most common classes. When using Fisher's exact test to compare harmful and nonharmful medication errors, the risk factor significantly associated with harmful errors was anti-infective class (p = 0.001). Conclusion: Voluntarily reported anti-infective medication errors within the pediatric patient population often reached the patient, and specific anti-infective medications are potentially of higher risk. Further investigation and additional quality and patient safety strategies may be needed for these higher-risk profile medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-604
Number of pages6
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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