Analysis of medication incidents and development of a Medication Incident Rate Clinical Indicator.

C. Headford, S McGowan, R. Clifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Most health service organisations depend solely upon spontaneous voluntary reporting of medication incidents and a wide variety of available denominators are used in order to calculate the Medication Incident Rate (MIR). This paper describes how nursing staff and clinical pharmacists reviewed medication incident data, revised and established new systems of reporting and developed a clinically useful, rate-based MIR Clinical Indicator. In order to make the MIR more meaningful, the frequency of occurrence of incidents was considered within the context of the total number of medications given to patients. This was achieved by undertaking a point prevalence audit of all inpatient medication charts (n=372) to determine the total number of doses of medication given to patients during a 24 hour period (n=3211). This value was then used as the denominator for the MIR indicator. During 1998, a total of 475 medication incidents were reported; the average number of incidents was 1.3 per 24 hours. The MIR per 1000 doses was calculated to be 0.4. In most cases (77%) the incident caused no harm to the patient and no change in treatment was required, and the most 'severe' category for any incident was that active treatment was required (3% of reported incidents). The most common type of incident was the omission of a dose of medication (50%). A wide range of drugs were involved in the incidents, most commonly morphine (3.4%). The authors consider that the development and use of the MIR Clinical Indicator has positively influenced clinical practice in some areas at the authors' hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

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