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Research Papers

Awareness and Perceptions of State Hospital Pharmacists on Dispensing Errors – Evidence from Three Hospitals in Sri Lanka

Authors:

R. A. N. Dilsha ,

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nugegoda, LK
About R. A. N.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences
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H. M. I. P. Kularathne,

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nugegoda, LK
About H. M. I. P.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences
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M. T. M. Mujammail,

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nugegoda, LK
About M. T. M.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences
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S. M. M. Irshad,

The Open University of Sri Lanka, Nugegoda, LK
About S. M. M.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences
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N. R. Samaranayake

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Nugegoda, LK
About N. R.
Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences
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Abstract

Background: Errors may happen during the dispensing process and result in patient harm. Dispensing errors are preventable by error-proofing the system together with vigilance by pharmacists.

 

Objectives: To assess awareness and perceptions on the prevalence, nature and possible causes of dispensing errors among pharmacists in selected hospitals in Sri Lanka.

 

Methodology: The study was a descriptive, cross sectional and multi-center study where all pharmacists in three hospitals (one tertiary care and two secondary care) in three different districts were interviewed (N=48). A pretested and validated (content and face) interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data and data were analyzed using IBM SPSS (version 25.0). The questionnaire assessed perceptions of pharmacists on the prevalence, types, and possible causes of dispensing errors.

 

Results: Most pharmacists were within the age 20- 40 years (67%) and 54% were women. Most pharmacists agreed that dispensing errors could happen (90%) in Sri Lanka while the rest had ‘no idea’ about dispensing errors. The majority (62%) agreed that they are prone to commit a dispensing error in the current hospital setup. Over 90% of pharmacists correctly identified the different types of dispensing errors. However, missing or wrong medicine information on dispensing labels, and dispensing the wrong quantity of medicine units were not considered as dispensing errors by a few. Among many reasons, pharmacists perceived, illegible handwriting on prescriptions (92%), similar or confusing medicine names (85%), dispensing of incomplete prescriptions (83%), and over worked pharmacists (81%) as main causes for dispensing errors in Sri Lanka.

 

Conclusions: Most pharmacists in Sri Lanka were aware of the nature and prevalence of dispensing errors and highlighted numerous system issues that may cause them. These concerns must be urgently addressed by medical administrators to ensure medication safety of patients.
How to Cite: Dilsha, R.A.N., Kularathne, H.M.I.P., Mujammail, M.T.M., Irshad, S.M.M. and Samaranayake, N.R., 2020. Awareness and Perceptions of State Hospital Pharmacists on Dispensing Errors – Evidence from Three Hospitals in Sri Lanka. Pharmaceutical Journal of Sri Lanka, 10(1), pp.43–53. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/pjsl.v10i1.56
Published on 31 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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