Analysis of prescriptions for completeness in a tertiary care teaching hospital

Jyothsnya Srinivasa, Shubhatara Swamy


Background: Prescribing errors are major problems among medication errors. Prescribing errors include mistakes or inaccuracies when choosing and ordering treatments, such as wrong doses or illegible prescriptions. Most of these errors result in no harm or have low to moderate harm however, some result in severe harm or death. There are economic consequences attributed to prescribing errors.

Methods: The aim of the study was to analyse the prescriptions for completeness. The prospective observational study was conducted in outpatient department of different specialities in a tertiary care teaching hospital. Prescriptions with atleast one antibiotic, was collected through duplicate copies from the prescribing doctors. The data obtained from prescriptions were analysed and the conclusions were drawn using descriptive analysis.

Results: A total of 1516 prescriptions with 3957 drugs were prescribed, out of which 1697 were antibiotics. Average number of drugs per prescription was 2.6 and average number of antibiotics per prescription was 1.1. Patient’s name, age, and gender were mentioned in 99%, 87.8%, and 96% of prescriptions respectively. Generic drug names were used in 0.7% of prescriptions. Out of 1681 antibiotics prescribed in 1574 had appropriate dosage form.

Conclusions: The present study highlights the problem of incomplete prescriptions and extensive use of brand names. Intervention strategies focused on education and training, introduction of strict feedback control and monitoring systems are highly effective in reducing prescription errors.


Prescription errors, Antibiotics, Medication errors

Full Text:



National coordinating council for medication error reporting and prevention; 2015. Available at: Accessed on 9 July 2019.

Avery AA, Barber N, Ghaleb M, Dean Franklin B, Armstrong S, Crowe S, et al. Investigating the prevalence and causes of prescribing errors in general practice: the practice study. General Medical Council. Available at: about/what-we-do-and-why/data-and-research/ research-and-insight-archive/investigating-the-prevalence-and-causes-of-prescribing-errors-in-general-practice. Accessed on 9 July 2019.

Claesson CB, Burman K, Nilsson JLG, Vinge E. Prescription errors detected by Swedish pharmacists. Int J Pharm Pract. 1995;3:151-6.

Khoja T, Neyaz Y, Qureshi NA, Magzoub MA, Haycox A, Walley T. Medication errors in primary care in Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia. East Mediterr Health J. 2011;17:156-9.

Gandhi TK, Weingart SN, Borus J. Adverse drug events in ambulatory care. New Engl J Med. 2003;348:1556-64.

Pham JC, Aswani MS, Rosen M, Lee H, Huddle M, Weeks K, et al. Reducing medical errors and adverse events. Annu Rev Med. 2012;63:447-63.

Dean B, Barber N, Schachter M. What is a prescribing error?. Qual Health Care. 2000;9:232-7.

Pote S, Tiwari P, D'Cruz S. Medication prescribing errors in a public teaching hospital in India: a prospective study. Pharm Pract. 2007;5(1):17-20.

Reddy LKV, Modi AG, Chaudhary B, Modi V, Patel M. Medication errors-a case study. J Acad Hosp Adm. 2009;21(1,2):28-34.

Karna K, Sharma S, Inamdar S, Bhandari A. Study and evaluation of medication errors in a tertiary care teaching hospital-a baseline study. Int J Pharm Sci. 2012;4(5):587-93.

Mohan P, Sharma AK, Panwar SS. Identification and quantification of prescription errors. Med J Armed Forces India. 2014;(70):149-53.

Neville RG, Robertson F, Livingstone S, Crombie IK. A classification of prescription errors. J R Coll Gen Pract. 1989;39(320):110-12.

How to investigate drug use in health facilities, selected drug use indicators. Available at Accessed on 9 July 2019.

Shanmugapriya S, Saravanam ST, Rajee SS, Venkatrajan R, Thomas PM. Drug prescription pattern of outpatients in a tertiary care teaching hospital in Tamil Nadu. Perspect Clin Res. 2018; 9(3):133-8.

Keny M, Rataboli PV. Look-alike and sound-alike drug brand names: a potential risk in clinical practice. Indian J Clin Pract. 2013;23(9):508-13.

Suman RK, Kumar R, Mohanty IR, Deshmukh YA. Assessment of drug usage pattern of antibiotics used in ENT OPD of tertiary care teaching hospital. Int J Health Sci Res. 2015;5(9):290-7.

Medication errors: technical series on safer primary care. Available at: handle/10665/252274/9789241511643-eng.pdf. Accessed on 9 March 2019.

Woodward MC, Streeton CL, Guttmann A, Killer GT, Peck RW. Polypharmacy management among Australian veterans: improving prescribing through the Australian department of veterans’ affairs’ prescriber feedback programme. Intern Med J. 2008;38(2):95-100.

Evidence scan: reducing prescribing errors April 2012. Available at: default/files/ReducingPrescribingErrors.pdf. Accessed on 13 March 2019.