Missed medication doses in hospitalised patients: a descriptive account of quality improvement measures and time series analysis

James Hodson, Hannah L Brooks, David Rosser, Jamie Coleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the changes in overdue doses rates over a 4-year period in an National Health Service (NHS) teaching hospital, following the implementation of interventions associated with an electronic prescribing system used within the hospital.

DESIGN: Retrospective time-series analysis of weekly dose administration data.

SETTING: University teaching hospital using a locally developed electronic prescribing and administration system (Prescribing, Information and Communication System or PICS) with an audit database containing details on every drug prescription and dose administration.

PARTICIPANTS: Prescription data extracted from the PICS database.

INTERVENTION(S): Four interventions were implemented in the Trust: (i) the ability for doctors to pause medication doses; (ii) clinical dashboards; (iii) visual indicators for overdue doses and (iv) overdue doses Root Cause

ANALYSIS: (RCA) meetings and a National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) Rapid Response Alert. Main outcome measure(s) The percentage of missed medication doses.

RESULTS: Rates of both missed antibiotic and non-antibiotic doses decreased significantly upon the introduction of clinical dashboards (reductions of 0.60 and 0.41 percentage points, respectively), as well as following the instigation of executive-led overdue doses RCA meetings (reductions of 0.83 and 0.97 percentage points, respectively) and the publication of an associated NPSA Rapid Response Alert. Implementing a visual indicator for overdue doses was not associated with significant decreases in the rates of missed antibiotic or non-antibiotic doses.

CONCLUSIONS: Electronic prescribing systems can facilitate data collection relating to missed medication doses.

INTERVENTIONS: providing hospital staff with information about overdue doses at a ward level can help promote reductions in overdue doses rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)564-72
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal for Quality in Health Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2013


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Medical Order Entry Systems
  • Medication Errors
  • Medication Systems, Hospital
  • Quality Improvement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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