PSA Advisories

Oral Anticoagulants: A Review of Common Errors and Risk Reduction Strategies

Oral anticoagulants, a class of high-alert medications, are widely used in the United States for varying indications, including treatment after deep-vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism as well as prevention of stroke in valvular and non-valvular-related atrial fibrillation. Analysts reviewed medication error reports submitted from July 2013 through June 2014 through the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) involving four oral anticoagulants: warfarin, apixaban, rivaroxaban, and dabigatran. Of the 831 errors related to oral anticoagulants analyzed from PA-PSRS, the most common event types were drug omissions (32.5%, n = 270), other (18.5%, n = 154), and extra doses (11.7%, n = 97). Medication errors categorized as “other” involved problems related to prescribing, wrong dose, wrong patient, and inaccurate medication lists. Risk reduction strategies include establishing functional hard-stop drug alerts during order entry, establishing an anticoagulant management service program, and providing continuous education for staff on anticoagulant use. (Pa Patient Saf Advis 2015 Jun;12[2]54-61.)

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More Alerts

Medication use in the perioperative setting presents unique patient safety challenges compared with other hospital settings. For example, perioperative medication prescribing and administration often bypasses standard safety checks, such as electronic physician order entry with decision support