This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

A Comparison of Dispensing Error Detection Methods for the Department of Defense




Hamilothoris, Achilles

Type of Degree



Pharmacy Care Systems


Medication error rates in pharmacies range from 0.2% to 10% and there are several detection methods in which these rates are determined. The observation and self report methods for detecting medication errors are described and compared at a Department of Defense (DoD) facility. Over a period of 20 days, 3,293 prescriptions were studied using the observation method. These prescriptions were later reconciled against pharmacy prescription and computer data in order to identify dispensing medication errors by categories of errors. The observation method detected 35 errors compared to zero reported by the presently utilized self-report method at this facility during the study period. In addition, when results were extrapolated, significantly different types of errors were detected by each method. The DoD should consider utilizing the observation method as its primary method for detecting dispensing errors.