Policies on documentation and disciplinary action in hospital pharmacies after a medication error

A. N. Bauman, C. A. Pedersen, J. C. Schommer, N. L. Griffith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Hospital pharmacies were surveyed about policies on medication error documentation and actions taken against pharmacists involved in an error. The survey was mailed to 500 randomly selected hospital pharmacy directors in the United States. Data were collected on the existence of medication error reporting policies, what types of errors were documented and how, and hospital demographics. The response rate was 28%. Virtually all of the hospitals had policies and procedures for medication error reporting. Most commonly, documentation of oral and written reprimand was placed in the personnel file of a pharmacist involved in an error. One sixth of respondents had no policy on documentation or disciplinary action in the event of an error. Approximately one fourth of respondents reported that suspension or termination had been used as a form of disciplinary action; legal action was rarely used. Many respondents said errors that caused harm (42%) or death (40%) to the patient were documented in the personnel file, but 34% of hospitals did not document errors in the personnel file regardless of error type. Nearly three fourths of respondents differentiated between errors caught and not caught before a medication leaves the pharmacy and between errors caught and not caught before administration to the patient. More emphasis is needed on documentation of medication errors in hospital pharmacies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1120-1125
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2001


  • Administration
  • Data collection
  • Documentation
  • Errors, medication
  • Pharmacists, hospital
  • Pharmacy, institutional, hospital
  • Reports


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