to use the area of improvement selected in the Week Three QI Plan Part l assignment to complete the following section of the QI plan. a 1,400- to 1,750-word paper in which you complete the following for the area of improvement: at least 3 sources according to APA guidelines to support your information. the Assignment Files tab to submit your assignment.

Title: Enhancing Quality Improvement in Healthcare: Addressing an Area of Improvement


Quality improvement (QI) initiatives play a vital role in healthcare settings to enhance patient outcomes, improve safety, and optimize efficiency. One key aspect of effective QI planning is identifying areas in need of improvement. This paper focuses on an area of improvement previously selected, as part of the Week Three QI Plan Part l assignment, to further explore and develop a comprehensive QI plan for healthcare professionals. This assignment aims to provide a detailed analysis of the chosen area of improvement, supported by at least three credible sources conforming to the guidelines established by the American Psychological Association (APA).

Area of Improvement: Reducing Medication Errors in a Hospital Setting

Medication errors represent a significant concern in healthcare institutions, posing a risk to patient safety and increasing healthcare costs. Defined as any preventable event that causes or leads to inappropriate medication use or patient harm while the medication is in the control of healthcare professionals, medication errors contribute to a substantial number of adverse drug events (ADEs) and subsequent hospitalizations (National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention [NCC MERP], 2016). Hence, improving medication safety and minimizing medication errors is crucial for enhancing patient outcomes and optimizing healthcare delivery.

Identifying the extent and causes of medication errors

Measuring the occurrence and impact of medication errors provides a foundation for understanding the nature and extent of the problem. Although accurate estimation of medication errors can be challenging, studies consistently demonstrate their prevalence and consequences. A systematic review conducted by Keers and colleagues (2013) revealed that medication errors occur at a rate of 7-10% of medication administrations in acute care settings, with approximately half of these errors being preventable. Furthermore, medication errors contribute to significant patient harm, prolonged hospital stays, and increased healthcare costs (Bates et al., 2014).

The multifactorial nature of medication errors necessitates understanding the underlying causes to develop effective strategies for improvement. Common causes of medication errors include communication breakdowns, illegible handwriting, inadequate staff training, medication storage issues, and inadequate medication reconciliation processes (Institute for Safe Medication Practices [ISMP], 2014). Research suggests that system-level factors, such as poor communication and inadequate medication management systems, often contribute more to medication errors than individual errors or knowledge deficits (Kopp et al., 2018).

Strategies to reduce medication errors

Addressing the problem of medication errors requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses both technological improvements and changes in healthcare practices. The following strategies have been found to be effective in reducing medication errors and promoting patient safety:

1. Implementation of computerized physician order entry (CPOE) systems: CPOE systems can significantly reduce medication errors by eliminating illegible handwriting, providing decision support, and facilitating medication reconciliation (ISMP, 2014). Several studies have shown that hospitals implementing CPOE systems experience a significant decrease in medication errors and ADEs (Kuperman et al., 2007).

2. Barcoding medication administration (BCMA): BCMA systems have been shown to reduce medication errors significantly, as they provide a mechanism for verifying patients, medications, and doses at the bedside (ISMP, 2014). Utilizing barcode scanning technology during medication administration improves accuracy and reduces the risk of wrong medication administration, contributing to improved patient safety.

3. Enhancing interprofessional communication and collaboration: Poor communication is a significant driver of medication errors. By fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals, medication errors can be mitigated (Armitage et al., 2018). Initiatives such as interprofessional rounds or enhanced handoff processes can improve information transfer and decrease the likelihood of errors.


Medication errors pose a significant threat to patient safety and healthcare quality. This paper explored the area of reducing medication errors as a crucial area for improvement in healthcare. By understanding the extent and causes of medication errors, healthcare professionals can develop effective strategies to enhance medication safety. Implementing interventions such as CPOE systems, BCMA, and promoting interprofessional communication can significantly reduce medication errors and improve patient outcomes.


Armitage, G., Knapman, H., & Adair, P. (2018). Medication errors in critical care: Risk factors, prevention and disclosure. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 44, 82–88.

Bates, D. W., Singh, H., & Ong, M. S. (2014). Medication errors: Importance, consequences, and prevention. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 89, No. 8, pp. 978–994). Elsevier.

Institute for Safe Medication Practices. (2014). ISMP’s List of High-Alert Medications in Acute Care Settings. Retrieved from

Keers, R. N., Williams, S. D., Cooke, J., & Ashcroft, D. M. (2013). Causes of medication administration errors in hospitals: A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative evidence. Drug Safety, 36(11), 1045–1067.

Kopp, B. J., Erstad, B. L., Allen, M. E., Theodorou, A. A., & Priestley, G. (2018). Medication errors and adverse drug events in an intensive care unit: Direct observation approach for detection. Critical Care Medicine, 46(7), 1075–1081.

Kuperman, G. J., Bobb, A., Payne, T. H., Avery, A. J., Gandhi, T. K., Burns, G., … & Bates, D. W. (2007). Medication-related clinical decision support in computerized provider order entry systems: A review. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 14(1), 29–40.

National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention. (2016). NCC MERP index for categorizing medication errors. Retrieved from

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