gms | German Medical Science

Research in Medical Education – Chances and Challenges International Conference

20.05. - 22.05.2009, Heidelberg

Reducing common prescription errors – a randomized controlled trial

Meeting Abstract

Research in Medical Education - Chances and Challenges 2009. Heidelberg, 20.-22.05.2009. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2009. Doc09rmeI5

doi: 10.3205/09rme53, urn:nbn:de:0183-09rme531

Published: May 5, 2009

© 2009 Celebi et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Context: Avoidable Drug related problems (DRP) cause substantial morbidity, mortality and costs. Since most prescription errors are committed by recently graduated doctors, undergraduate training should specifically address DRP.

Question: To determine whether a DRP teaching module contributes to the reduction of prescription errors.

Methology: A total of 74 fifth year medical students (25 ± 3 yrs, 24 m, 50 f) from the University of Tübingen was included in a randomized, controlled cross-over-study. Patient charts had to be completed with prescriptions before and after a specific DRP training and a control-intervention, respectively. The prescription charts were subsequently analyzed for common prescription errors.

Results: Before the training, the students avoided 31 (±46)% of potential prescription errors. This percentage increased to 71 (±46)% after the training (p < .0001). Students with experiences from clerkships in internal medicine or former nurse educational training did not perform better in the first observation point (29 ± 45% vs. 31 ± 46%, p = .177/ 30 ± 46% vs. 35 ± 48%, p = .064).

Conclusion: Students cannot be expected to learn how to avoid common prescription errors during unstructured clinical clerkships. Prescription errors can be significantly reduced by a specific teaching module on DRP.