Accuracy of Discriminating between Similar Drug Names by Nurses: Effect of Finger-pointing on Error Prevention

Junko Mitobe, Takahiro Higuchi


Discriminating between similar drug names accurately is important in order to prevent medication error. To facilitate accurate discrimination, performing finger-pointing toward drug names to recognize them is recommended in Japan for healthcare workers. We investigate whether nurses would accurately recognize the difference between target and similar drug names and whether finger-pointing would lead to error prevention for drug names by using a choice reaction time task. Participants observed six drug names with or without pointing with the index finger and determined as quickly and accurately as possible whether the target drug name was present. Targets were real drug names, although distractors were pseudo names so as to strictly manipulate the degree of similarity. The results showed that error rates were significantly higher for nurses than for students. Due to their familiarity with the drug names, the nurses could misrecognize the pseudo words as target drug names when a quick response was requested. We also found that nurses did not receive a benefit from finger-pointing. Moreover, finger-pointing may have been inadequate to lead to accurate recognition of complex stimuli, such as drug names.

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Journal of Safety Studies ISSN 2377-3219

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