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Farmacia Hospitalaria

On-line version ISSN 2171-8695Print version ISSN 1130-6343


VICENTE OLIVEROS, Noelia et al. Grading the potential safety risk of medications used in hospital care. Farm Hosp. [online]. 2018, vol.42, n.2, pp.53-61. ISSN 2171-8695.


The aim of this study was to stratify medications used in hospital care according to their potential risk.


The RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method was used. Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical subgroups were classified according to their potential risk. A literature search, bulletins, and alerts issued by patient safety organizations were used to identify the potential safety risk of these subgroups. Nine experts in patient/medication safety were selected to score the subgroups for their appropriateness in the classification. Two evaluation rounds were conducted: the first by email and the second by a panel meeting.


A total of 298 Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical subgroups were evaluated. They were classified into three scenarios (low, medium, and high risk). In the first round, 266 subgroups were classified as appropriate to the assigned scenario, 32 were classified as uncertain, and none were classified as inappropriate. In the second round, all subgroups were classified as appropriate. The most frequent subgroups in the low-risk scenario belonged to group A “Alimentary tract and metabolism” (44%); the most frequent in the medium-risk scenario belonged to group J “Antiinfectives for systemic use” (32%); and the most frequent in the high-risk scenario belonged to group L “Antineoplastic and immunomodulating agents” (29%) and group N “Nervous system” (26%).


Based on the RAND/UCLA appropriateness method, Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical subgroups used in hospital care were classified according to their potential risk (low, medium, or high). These lists can be incorporated into a risk-scoring tool for future patient/medication safety studies.

Keywords : Risk assessment; Risk management; Medication errors; Hospital; RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method.

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