SRI Security Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia
Preventable medical adverse events are a serious concern for healthcare. Medication errors form a significant part of these concerns and it is evident that these errors can have serious consequences such as death or disability. Many medication errors are a consequence of information failure. Therefore to prevent such adverse events, the associated information flow must be understood. This research used a systematic review methodology to conduct an analysis of medication error as a result of information failure. Its aim was to suggest solutions on reducing information induced medication errors. The results indicate that is apparent that human error such as slips or lapses can occur due to stress, tiredness and interruptions within the clinical process. Numerous information flow problems are evident within the clinical culture and it is this clinical culture that allows human error which results in medication errors. By changing the clinical culture and establishing effective information flow, clinical errors may be reduced. Thus, recommendations for reducing information flow induced medication errors include a change in clinical culture and the design of a framework which can establish uniformity of communication between healthcare providers. Finally, a major concern for patients is lack of patient information such as medication histories and allergies. Reconciliation of medication histories and a data base of patient information can assist practitioners in identifying any allergies to medications and thus prevent patient allergy related medication errors. Patient health summaries should be shared, for instance using the Australian national eHealth record in order to reduce errors in transcription and to reduce the time spent on collecting medication history.