Objective: This systematic review aims to investigate the role and responsibilities of pharmacists in the prevention of medication errors. The study also aims to evaluate pharmacist-centered strategies that have an impact on medication error reduction and prevention.
Methods: A search was conducted through the following databases PubMed Central, Scopus, Trip, Prospero, Medline and Google Scholar using terms related to “medication errors prevention” or “pharmacist-related errors”. Other search terms included “pharmacist(s)”, “prevention”, “medication error(s)”, “dispensing error(s)”, “drug incidence(s)”, “medication malpractice(s)”. Included studies were prospective and retrospective cohort, case-control and cross-sectional full-text studies published in the last 10 years (2010-2020). The review team screened the articles for inclusion criteria and evaluated the quality of the articles. The PRISMA guidelines were used to report the selected articles and screening process. Then, the articles were sent to a third independent reviewer for the quality assessment using the STROBE Checklist.
Results: A clinical pharmacist’s duties are to supervise the medication treatment of admitted patients and to notify the healthcare team when a discrepancy is found. A total of seven reviewed studies highlighted the importance and positive impact of increasing the number of clinical pharmacist’s interventions. Literature showed that an average of 64.9% of medication discrepancies happen during patient discharge, highlighting the necessity of a clinical pharmacist intervention at that stage. The systematic review focused on the significant impact of clinical pharmacists’ role in preventing errors (studies reported=5); encouraging pharmacist-led education to increase medication error awareness (studies reported =5), incorporating better and innovative pharmacy-related work approaches (studies reported =4); and implementing appropriate and secured policies for medication error reporting (studies reported =1). The screened literature highlighted the significant reduction in the number of medication errors and an increase in medication error identification and awareness. These findings suggest the crucial role of a pharmacist in healthcare policies for the prevention of medication errors and patient safety.
Conclusion: This systematic review suggests multiple pharmacist-centered strategies that have been implemented in several studies showing the positive impact on the reduction and prevention of medication errors commenced by not only the pharmacist but the rest of the healthcare team.