Drug treatment is an important clinical process in primary care that is associated with risk of error and adverse events.
To review currently available research evidence on the topic and to develop a framework, which can help to guide improvement of medication safety.
Systematic reviews were performed on adverse drug events (ADE), their preventability, and on available tools and methods to improve medication safety with a particular focus on information technology. Consensus methods were used to develop a framework to guide the improvement of medication safety based on the findings of our literature review.
The median prevalence rate of ADEs in primary care patients was 12.8%. Only a median of 16.5% of ADEs were preventable and thus could be classified as medication errors. Our review of information technology interventions found that only about half of the studies found a reduction of medication errors. In both reviews, the wide range between studies emphasizes the necessity of a validated medication error classification system. Another important aspect of medication safety appears to be a general lack of safety culture in primary care, which led us to the development of the Salzburg medication safety framework (SaMSaF), based on the MaPSaF tool to improve patient safety. The tool proved to be feasible and useful in a pilot study with several GP practices.
A number of tools and interventions to investigate and enhance medication safety have been identified. Further research is necessary to implement and evaluate current concepts.
Find related publications in this database (Keywords)Medication safety