Prescribing errors in post - COVID-19 patients: prevalence, severity, and risk factors in patients visiting a post - COVID-19 outpatient clinic

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BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has challenged healthcare globally. An acute increase in the number of hospitalized patients has necessitated a rigorous reorganization of hospital care, thereby creating circumstances that previously have been identified as facilitating prescribing errors (PEs), e.g. a demanding work environment, a high turnover of doctors, and prescribing beyond expertise. Hospitalized COVID-19 patients may be at risk of PEs, potentially resulting in patient harm. We determined the prevalence, severity, and risk factors for PEs in post-COVID-19 patients, hospitalized during the first wave of COVID-19 in the Netherlands, 3 months after discharge.

METHODS: This prospective observational cohort study recruited patients who visited a post-COVID-19 outpatient clinic of an academic hospital in the Netherlands, 3 months after COVID-19 hospitalization, between June 1 and October 1 2020. All patients with appointments were eligible for inclusion. The prevalence and severity of PEs were assessed in a multidisciplinary consensus meeting. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by univariate and multivariate analysis to identify independent risk factors for PEs.

RESULTS: Ninety-eight patients were included, of whom 92% had ≥1 PE and 8% experienced medication-related harm requiring an immediate change in medication therapy to prevent detoriation. Overall, 68% of all identified PEs were made during or after the COVID-19 related hospitalization. Multivariate analyses identified ICU admission (OR 6.08, 95% CI 2.16-17.09) and a medical history of COPD / asthma (OR 5.36, 95% CI 1.34-21.5) as independent risk factors for PEs.

CONCLUSIONS: PEs occurred frequently during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Patients admitted to an ICU during COVID-19 hospitalization or who had a medical history of COPD / asthma were at risk of PEs. These risk factors can be used to identify high-risk patients and to implement targeted interventions. Awareness of prescribing safely is crucial to prevent harm in this new patient population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Pages (from-to)35
JournalBMC Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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