European Statement: 

  • Patient Safety and Quality Assurance 


Teimori Kaveh

What was done?: 

Nurses, doctors and pharmacists were provided with accessible and evidence-based information on IV drug compatibility in order to improve drug therapy, working environment and patient safety.

Why was it done?: 

Hospitalised patients often need multiple IV drugs simultaneously which are commonly mixed in-line before entering the bloodstream. Physicochemically incompatible drugs cause reduced efficacy, clogged catheters and drug precipitation, which can be harmful or even fatal. The risks add uncertainty to the stressful working environment for clinical practitioners. According to a local 2012 survey 68% (n=44) of Sahlgrenska University Hospital (SUH) intensive care unit (ICU) nurses had co-administered drugs uncertain of their compatibility. Hospital pharmacists were hence asked for guidance to optimise compatibility and patient safety.

How was it done?: 

Drug compatibility data was collected by hospital pharmacists who assessed its applicability to Swedish conditions. The results were documented in charts and procedure documents. A project for creating a database was initiated in collaboration with the IT organisation in Västra Götaland Region (VGR). A survey was designed to evaluate how the SUH’s ICU nurses experienced the database. Collaboration with nurses, doctors and clinical pharmacists helped to improve the quality of the database.

What has been achieved?: 

Drug compatibility lectures were given to nurses, doctors and pharmacists on a continuous basis. Procedure documents were implemented in eight clinics. A peer-reviewed workflow was established. The database contains over 2,500 assessed drug combinations. Over 700 nurses, doctors and pharmacists from 11 counties plus Norway and Denmark have requested access to the database. Clinics avoid drug mixing by choosing multi-lumen catheters with greater capacity. The 2016 survey showed that 88% (n=86) of SUH’s ICU nurses had co-administered drugs uncertain of their compatibility. The database affected their decisions in 93% (n=45) of the cases, 85% (n=34) found information easier and 88% (n=34) felt more certain when making decisions. A new pharmacist role – IV Compatibility Manager – was introduced and implemented in VGR. In 2016, this work received the national annual award Guldpillret (‘The Golden Pill’).

What next?: 

In the next years, the database will become nationally available and integrated into electronic journal systems. Compatibility issues may then be identified when prescribing, further improving patient safety.




Hospital Pharmacy profession
Healthcare Professionals - Doctors
Healthcare Professionals - Nurses
Others Healthcare Professionals
Hospital Managers
Hospital Pharmacists


Statement 5.1
Statement 5.2
Statement 5.3
Statement 5.4
Statement 5.5
Statement 5.6
Statement 5.7
Statement 5.8
Statement 5.9
Statement 5.10
Statement 5.11

Evidence status: