, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 418-422,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 29 Mar 2008

Use of a Handheld Computer Application for Voluntary Medication Event Reporting by Inpatient Nurses and Physicians

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine the feasibility of capturing self-reported medication events using a handheld computer-based Medication Event Reporting Tool (MERT).

DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS

Handheld computers operating the MERT software application were deployed among volunteer physician (n = 185) and nurse (n = 119) participants on the medical wards of four university-affiliated teaching hospitals. Participants were encouraged to complete confidential reports on the handheld computers for medication events observed during the study period.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS

Demographic variables including age, gender, education level, and clinical experience were recorded for all participants. Each MERT report included details on the provider, location, timing and type of medication event recorded. Over the course of 2,311 days of clinician participation, 76 events were reported; the median time for report completion was 231 seconds. The average event reporting rate for all participants was 0.033 reports per clinician shift. Nurses had a significantly higher reporting rate compared to physicians (0.045 vs 0.026 reports/shift, p = .02). Subgroup analysis revealed that attending physicians reported events more frequently than resident physicians (0.042 vs 0.021 reports/shift, p = .03), and at a rate similar to that of nurses (p = .80). Only 5% of MERT medication events were reported to require increased monitoring or treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

A handheld-based event reporting tool is a feasible method to record medication events in inpatient hospital care units. Handheld reporting tools may hold promise to augment existing hospital reporting systems.