Evaluating the impact of a pharmacist-led prescribing feedback intervention on prescribing errors in a hospital setting

M Lloyd*, S D Watmough, S V O'Brien, K Hardy, N Furlong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Prescribing errors are prevalent in hospital settings with provision of feedback recommended to support prescribing of doctors. Feedback on prescribing has been described as feasible and valued but limited by doctors, with pharmacists described as credible facilitators of prescribing feedback. Evidence supporting prescribing feedback has been limited to date. A formalised programme of pharmacist-led prescribing error feedback was designed and implemented to support prescribers. Objective: To evaluate the impact of a prescribing feedback intervention on prescribing error rates and frequency of prescribing error severity and type. Method: Prospective prescribing audits were undertaken across sixteen hospital wards in a UK teaching hospital over a five day period with 36 prescribers in the intervention group and 41 in the control group. The intervention group received pharmacist-led, individualised constructive feedback on their prescribing, whilst the control group continued with existing practice. Prescribing was re-audited after three months. Prescribing errors were classified by type and severity and data were analysed using relevant statistical tests. Results: A total of 5191 prescribed medications were audited at baseline and 5122 post-intervention. There was a mean prescribing error rate of 25.0% (SD 16.8, 95% CI 19.3 to 30.7) at baseline and 6.7% (SD 9.0, 95% CI 3.7 to 9.8) post-intervention for the intervention group, and 19.7% (SD 14.5, 95% CI 15.2 to 24.3) at baseline and 25.1% (SD 17.0, 95% CI 19.8 to 30.6) post-intervention for the control group with a significant overall change in prescribing error rates between groups of 23.7% (SD 3.5, 95% CI, −30.6 to −16.8), t(75) = −6.9, p < 0.05. The frequency of each error type and severity rating was reduced in the intervention group, whilst the error frequency of some error types and severity increased in the control group. Conclusion: Pharmacist-led prescribing feedback has the potential to reduce prescribing errors and improve prescribing outcomes and patient safety.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date16 Dec 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Dec 2020


  • Education
  • Feedback
  • Pharmacist
  • Prescribing
  • Prescribing error reduction
  • Prescribing errors


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