Medication administration errors are a major cause of harm to hospitalised patients and therefore an important target for improving safety.
In a Danish study, an automated medication system (AMS) was introduced at the haematological ward of a hospital, with a similar ward acting as a control.
During a three-week period following the introduction of the AMS, the medication administration error rate fell to 0.17 per dose compared with 0.35 per dose at baseline. This equates to a 57% risk reduction compared with the control ward.
The AMS was checked by pharmacy staff and involved an automated dispensing machine in the pharmacy, which pre-packed tablets for each patient, and bedside barcode verification.
The team, reporting in the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy (online, 27 November 2015)
, say the results suggest the AMS could improve patient safety in similar settings.
 RisÃ¸r BW, Lisby M & SÃ¸rensen J. An automated medication system reduces errors in the medication administration process: results from a Danish hospital study. European Journal Hospital Pharmacy 2015. doi:10.1136/ejhpharm-2015-000749.