User-testing and subsequent modification of clinical guidelines increases health professionals’ information retrieval and comprehension, but no study has investigated whether this results in safer care.
Jones et al. compared the frequency of medication errors when administering an intravenous medicine using the current National Health Service Injectable Medicines Guide (IMG) versus an IMG version revised with user-testing.
Participants were on-duty nurses/midwives who regularly prepared intravenous medicines. Using a training manikin in their clinical area, participants administered a voriconazole infusion, a high-risk medicine requiring several steps to prepare. They were randomised to use current IMG guidelines or IMG guidelines revised with user-testing.
The results, published in BMJ Safety & Quality, found that fewer moderate-severe IMG-related errors occurred with the user-tested guidelines compared with current guidelines, but this difference was not statistically significant. Significantly more simulations were completed without any IMG-related errors with the user-tested guidelines compared with current guidelines. Participants who used user-tested guidelines reported greater confidence.
The authors conclude that user-testing injectable medicines guidelines reduces the number of errors and the time taken to prepare and administer intravenous medicines, while increasing staff confidence.