Systematic engineering tools for describing and improving medication administration processes at rural healthcare facilities

Yuan Han Huang, Anand K. Gramopadhye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This study demonstrates a series of systematic methods for mapping medication administration processes and for elaborating violations of work standards at two rural hospitals. Thirty-four observational periods were conducted to capture the details of clinical activities, and hierarchical task analysis (HTA) was used to demonstrate the current medication administration process. Facility nurse managers in five units across the two facilities participated in focus group discussions to validate the observational data and to generate a reliable context-appropriate medication administration process. The potential errors or misconduct when passing the drugs were identified, such as unsafe storage and transportation of drugs from room to room. Those hazards would cause drug contamination, loss, or access by unauthorized individuals. Hospitals without 24-hour pharmacy coverage and other interruptions would hinder the medication administration process. Preparing drugs for more than one patient at a time would increase the risk of passing the drugs to the wrong patient. This study shows the use of observation and focus groups to describe and identify violations in the medication administration process. A clear road map for continuous clinical process improvement obtained from the current study could be used to help future health information technology implementation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1712-1724
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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