Medication error (ME) is a worldwide issue, but most studies on ME have been undertaken in developed countries and very little is known about ME in Southeast Asian countries. This study aimed systematically to identify and review research done on ME in Southeast Asian countries in order to identify common types of ME and estimate its prevalence in this region.
The literature relating to MEs in Southeast Asian countries was systematically reviewed in December 2014 by using; Embase, Medline, Pubmed, ProQuest Central and the CINAHL. Inclusion criteria were studies (in any languages) that investigated the incidence and the contributing factors of ME in patients of all ages.
The 17 included studies reported data from six of the eleven Southeast Asian countries: five studies in Singapore, four in Malaysia, three in Thailand, three in Vietnam, one in the Philippines and one in Indonesia. There was no data on MEs in Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor. Of the seventeen included studies, eleven measured administration errors, four focused on prescribing errors, three were done on preparation errors, three on dispensing errors and two on transcribing errors. There was only one study of reconciliation error. Three studies were interventional.
The most frequently reported types of administration error were incorrect time, omission error and incorrect dose. Staff shortages, and hence heavy workload for nurses, doctor/nurse distraction, and misinterpretation of the prescription/medication chart, were identified as contributing factors of ME. There is a serious lack of studies on this topic in this region which needs to be addressed if the issue of ME is to be fully understood and addressed.