Prescribing ward round with pharmacist involvement cuts errors on paediatric ICU

Close involvement of the pharmacist at the prescribing stage on the ward can lead to a reduction in prescribing errors, a study conducted at Great Ormond Street Hospital has suggested.

Prescribing ward round, with pharmacist involvement, cuts errors on paediatric ICU

The introduction of a daily multidisciplinary prescribing round to a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) led to a reduction in prescribing errors and overall time spent on medicines queries and prescribing, a report has shown[1]

The team at Great Ormond Street Hospital introduced the prescribing round, with senior medical and pharmacist involvement, in which each patient was visited at a specific time each day to address prescription queries and prescribe non-urgent medicines.

The mean total prescription errors per bed per day fell from 1.66 before implementation to 1.19 after. A staff survey was conducted two months after implementation. Overall, 95% of 39 staff members directly involved in the round said that it reduced the overall time spent on prescribing queries during their shift and 90% of prescribers (n=10) said they were interrupted less often for medicines queries. Almost all of the 48 staff who responded to the survey (98%) said they wanted the round to continue.

Paediatric patients are particularly vulnerable to harm from prescribing errors, the authors explained, and a recent survey found that electronic prescribing systems do not prevent the majority of harmful prescribing errors in English paediatric hospitals.

“Close involvement of the pharmacist at the prescribing stage meant that they were frequently able to identify and address prescribing issues that were not highlighted by our electronic prescribing system, thereby preventing many errors that would have otherwise slipped through,” they wrote in ADC Education & Practice.


[1] Walsh A, Booth R, Rajani K et al. Introduction of a prescribing ward round to reduce prescribing errors on a paediatric intensive care unit. Arch Dis Child Educ Pract Ed 2020. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2019-318732

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ September 2020, Vol 305, No 7941;305(7941):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2020.20208275

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