Failure mode and effects analysis to reduce risk of heparin use.

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DOI: 10.1093/ajhp/zxz229


PURPOSE: Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA) was used to identify safety risks of unfractionated heparin (UFH) use and to develop and implement countermeasures to improve safety.

METHODS: FMEA was used to analyze the transportation, preparation, dispensation, administration, therapeutic monitoring, and disposal of UFH in a tertiary care, freestanding pediatric hospital. The FMEA was conducted in a stepwise fashion. First, frontline staff mapped the different steps within the UFH use process. Next, key stakeholders identified potential failures of each process step. Finally, using calibrated scales, the stakeholders ranked the likelihood of occurrence, severity, and detectability for each potential failure's cause. The rankings were used to prioritize high-risk areas on which to focus efforts for improvement countermeasures.

RESULTS: The analysis revealed 233 potential failures and 737 unique potential causes. After ranking all identified potential causes, 45 were deemed high scoring. Those 45 causes were further refined into 13 underlying contributing causes. To address the contributing causes, selected team members developed 22 countermeasures. The FMEA showed that implementation of the countermeasures reduced the level of mathematical risk.

CONCLUSION: FMEA was helpful in identifying, ranking, and prioritizing medication risks in the UFH use process. Twenty-two countermeasures were developed to reduce potential for error in the riskiest steps of the process.

Journal Title

American journal of health-system pharmacy : AJHP : official journal of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists





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FMEA; failure; heparin; risk

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