Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.


Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

Patient records

USB memory sticks could help reduce medicine errors after hospital discharge

Study results show that patients given USB sticks containing their electronic medicine records were subject to fewer medicine errors following hospital discharge compared with patients who received a handwritten discharge prescription.

Giving patients a USB device containing electronic medicine records at hospital discharge could help prevent medicine errors as they move between hospital and the community, a study published in the British Journal of General Practice (23 April 2019) has found.

Researchers carried out a study comprising 102 patients aged 60 years or above in the five general medical and surgical wards of a 350-bed hospital and general practices in County Cork, Ireland, between January 2016 and July 2016.

Some of the patients were issued with a ‘Patient-Held Active Record of Medication Status’ (PHARMS) USB device, while the rest received usual care in the form of a handwritten discharge prescription.

The researchers collected data for all patients detailing their pre-admission and hospital discharge medicine information; age; length of hospital stay; the number of medicines they were taking on admission; and independence in terms of continence, mobility, feeding and dressing. 

They also examined each patient’s discharge prescriptions for errors and patients’ GPs informed them if any errors posing clinical risk were detected.

In addition, the researchers carried out interviews with patients, junior doctors in the hospital, GPs and IT professionals, and directly observed the implementation process.

Overall, the results showed that the total number of medicine errors was lower in the intervention group than in the control group (median 1, interquartile range [IQR] 0–3 vs. median 8, IQR 4–13.5, P<0.001), as was the clinical significance score.

The researchers also discovered that there was a complete absence of errors pertaining to patient information, date, legibility, quantity and prescriber information among the intervention group. 

Through the interviews they found out that the PHARMS device was considered to be technically implementable using the existing IT systems, as well as clinically feasible and acceptable.

“Establishing effective methods of reducing medication error as patients move between hospital and the community is currently an international priority,” the authors of the study said.

“This device may offer a potential solution to the challenges of medication reconciliation at the primary–secondary care interface using existing IT infrastructure.”

They added that a larger scale evaluation of the device, including deployment at the point of hospital admission, was now warranted. 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206462

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    All the information you need to provide patients with evidence-based advice on sports and exercise related health matters.

    £27.00Buy now
  • Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver assists practitioners in making pragmatic choices for their patients. It enables you to assess liver function and covers the principles of drug use in liver disease.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Popular Medicines

    Popular Medicines

    An illustrated history of some of the most popular branded medicines. Includes colourful historical adverts and details of the medicine's formula and intended purpose.

    £22.00Buy now
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    Complementary and Alternative Medicine

    A practical reference source on alternative and complementary therapies. Enables healthcare professionals to give knowledge-based advice.

    £43.00Buy now
  • Lecture Notes in Pharmacy Practice

    Lecture Notes in Pharmacy Practice

    A comprehensive study guide which summarises the basic principles in pharmacy practice. Clear, bulleted information for quick reference.

    £43.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.