Double checking medication administration in hospitals is often standard practice, particularly for high-risk drugs, yet its effectiveness in reducing medication administration errors (MAEs) and improving patient outcomes remains unclear. This systematic review of studies, published in BMJ Quality & Safety, evaluates evidence of the effectiveness of double checking to reduce MAEs.
There is insufficient evidence that double versus single checking of medication administration is associated with lower rates of MAEs or reduced harm. Most comparative studies fail to define or investigate the level of adherence to independent double checking, further limiting conclusions regarding effectiveness in error prevention. Higher-quality studies are needed to determine if, and in what context (eg, drug type, setting), double checking produces sufficient benefits in patient safety to warrant the considerable resources required.