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The role of communication in paediatric drug safety
  1. Claire Stebbing1,
  2. Ian C K Wong2,
  3. Rainu Kaushal3,
  4. Adam Jaffe4
  1. 1Paediatric Department, Chase Farm Hospital, Enfield, Middlesex, UK
  2. 2The School of Pharmacy, Centre for Paediatric Pharmacy Research, University of London and the Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3Department of Public Health, Cornell Medical School, New York, NY, USA
  4. 4Sydney Children’s Hospital and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr C Stebbing
    Paediatric Department, Chase Farm Hospital, The Ridgeway, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 8JL, UK; claire1stebbing{at}


Medication errors cause substantial harm to patients, and considerable cost to healthcare systems. Evidence suggests that communication plays a crucial role in the generation, management and prevention of such incidents. This review identifies how paediatric medication errors can be managed, and in particular focuses on the pathway of steps that can operationalise the current research findings. Furthermore, the current data suggesting how communication can help to prevent errors occurring in the first place is examined. From this data, it is apparent that there are three domains in which communication could play an important preventative role: first, patient doctor communication, and second interprofessional communication and finally researcher/professional dialogue. This review is an attempt to identify the importance of communication in paediatric mediation safety and to allow practical application of these findings.

  • ADE, adverse drug event
  • FHL, functional health literacy
  • NPSA, National Patient Safety Agency

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  • Competing interests: AJ has been reimbursed by GSK for attending a conference. AJ has received funds from Pfizer, Portex and Forest Laboratories for research. AJ has received honoraria from Astra and Chiron for lectures given.

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    BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health