Healthcare Professionals Risk Assessments for Alert Overrides in High-Risk IV Infusions Using Simulated Scenarios

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Risk analysis


This study aimed to use healthcare professionals' assessments to calculate expected risk of intravenous (IV) infusion harm for simulated high-risk medications that exceed soft limits and to investigate the impact of relevant risk factors. We designed 30 infusion scenarios for four high-risk medications, propofol, morphine, insulin, and heparin, infused in adult intensive care unit (AICU) and adult medical and surgical care unit (AMSU). A total of 20 pharmacists and 5 nurses provided their assessed expected risk of harm in each scenario. Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance with least square mean, and post hoc test were conducted to test the effects of field limit type, soft (SoftMax), and hard maximum drug limit types (HardMax), and care area-medication combination on risk of harm. The results showed that overdosing scenarios with continuous and bolus dose limit types were assessed with significantly higher risks than those of bolus dose rate type. An overdose infusion in AICU over a large SoftMax was assessed to be of higher risk than over a small one, but not in AMSU. For overdose infusions with three levels of drug amount, greater drug amount in AICU and AMSU was assessed to have higher risk, except insignificant risk difference between the infusions with higher and moderate drug amount in AMSU. This study obtained expected risk for simulated high-risk IV infusions and found that different field limit and SoftMax types can affect expected risk based on healthcare professionals' perspectives. The findings will be regarded as benchmarks for validating risk quantification models in future research.

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ePub ahead of print