USP Drug Safety Review: Medication errors in radiological services

February 20, 2006

Radiological services encompass a broad array of diagnostic and treatment modalities used in patient care and performed by various healthcare practitioners. The number of radiological procedures performed in the United States per year has been estimated at 300 million, of which 20% involve a radiological pharmaceutical.

Radiological services encompass a broad array of diagnostic and treatment modalities used in patient care and performed by various healthcare practitioners. The number of radiological procedures performed in the United States per year has been estimated at 300 million, of which 20% involve a radiological pharmaceutical.

USP's Center for the Advancement of Patient Safety analyzed 2,032 medication error records submitted to MEDMARX by 315 facilities during the five-year period of 2000-04 for events occurring in radiological service areas. Of the 2,032 reported errors, 5.7% were categorized as potential errors, 82.3% as nonharmful events, and 12% as harmful. This percentage of harmful records is seven times the 1.7% harm seen in the general MEDMARX data set for all locations for the same five-year period.

Breakdowns in written and oral communication were responsible for many errors.

Recurring problems by medication use process node