Medication errors and adverse drug events are a key concern of the health-care industry. The objectives of this study were to map the intellectual structure of the studies of medication errors and adverse drug events and to investigate the developing path of this literature and interrelationships among the main topics.
The Web of Science database was searched for documentation of medication errors and adverse drug events from 1961 to 2013. The most cited articles and references were profiled and analyzed using HistCite software to draw a historiograph and Ucinet software to draw a sociogram.
The database search revealed 3343 medication errors and 3342 adverse drug event documents. The most cited articles on medication errors focused on 3 key themes from 1961 to 2013, namely, medication errors in adult inpatients, computerized physician order entry in medication error studies, and medication errors in pediatric inpatients. The developing path for the most cited articles about adverse drug events from 1987 to 2013 was as follows: detection, analysis, effect, and prevention from adult inpatient to pediatric inpatient settings and from hospitalized care to ambulatory care. In addition, social network analysis based on the most cited references revealed a close relationship between medication errors and adverse drug events.
The mapping results provide a valuable tool for researchers to access the literature in this field and can be used to help identify the direction of medication errors and adverse drug events research.
From the *Graduate School of Business and Operations Management, Chang Jung Christian University; †Department of Medical Management, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital; and ‡Department of International Business, Chang Jung Christian University, Taiwan, Republic of China.
Correspondence: Hung-Chi Huang, 386 Ta-Chung 1st Rd., Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan, Republic of China (e-mail: email@example.com).