Understanding Pharmacist Communication and Medication Errors: A Systematic Literature Review
Objective: To better understand the inter-professional clinical communication between pharmacists, other health professionals and medication errors.
Methods: This research study used a systematic literature review approach by searching online databases including Medline, PubMed and CINHAL to understand the relationship between pharmacist clinical communication and medication errors. The results of this study show that from 1158 studies that were screened and assessed, only 454 studies were initially selected after the application of inclusion and exclusion criteria. A PRISMA chart and descriptive analysis was used to present the result.
Results: The results concluded that of the 18 studies, 17 showed a relationship between communication and medication errors, while only one study indicated no relationship. Thematic synthesis was used to classify
the result of the 17 studies. The result was classified into five general themes based on the literature review and similarity among the studies.
Conclusions: This systematic literature review investigated the interrelationship between communication and medication errors. In regards to patient safety, the research highlights that structured communication is
effective in preventing medication errors. These errors can occur within the medication management cycle at any point of the drug distribution chain. This is due to the involvement of different health professionals, and
different steps in the cycle from the correct prescription through to correct administration. Thus, to effectively prevent medication errors and reduce the rate of patient harm, structured communication (verbally and
non-verbally) is highly recommended.
Abbreviations: GP – General Practitioner; SLR – Systematic Literature Review