Because of the high frequency of interruptions during medication administration, the effectiveness of strategies to limit interruptions during medication administration has been evaluated in numerous quality improvement initiatives in an effort to reduce medication administration errors.
To evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies to limit interruptions during scheduled, peak medication administration times in 3 progressive cardiac care units (PCCUs). A secondary aim of the project was to evaluate the impact of limiting interruptions on medication errors.
The percentages of interruptions and medication errors before and after implementation of evidence-based strategies to limit interruptions were measured by using direct observations of nurses on 2 PCCUs. Nurses in a third PCCU served as a comparison group.
Interruptions (P < .001) and medication errors (P = .02) decreased significantly in 1 PCCU after implementation of evidence-based strategies to limit interruptions. Avoidable interruptions decreased 83% in PCCU1 and 53% in PCCU2 after implementation of the evidence-based strategies.
Implementation of evidence-based strategies to limit interruptions in PCCUs decreases avoidable interruptions and promotes patient safety.