The study was approved by the Research Ethics Board of Providence Health Care.
Collection of Data
A questionnaire was developed to learn how medication errors and adverse drug events are measured in Canadian ICUs. Face and content validity of the survey were assessed by reviewing each item on the proposed questionnaire with a critical care pharmacist, 2 critical care physicians, and 2 medical students who were conducting other research on adverse medication events. No quantitative tests of content validity were conducted. The final version of the survey consisted of a total of 16 questions, with each respondent answering from 8 to 16 of the questions, depending on responses to previous questions. The survey was uploaded to SurveyMonkey, an online survey tool.
The survey was designed so that users were directed to certain questions on the basis of their responses to previous questions. Response options were to choose one answer, choose all answers that apply, or fill in the field (for open-ended questions).
A cover letter describing the purpose and origin of the survey (and including a link to the online survey) was distributed by e-mail to all 146 members of the Critical Care Pharmacy Specialty Network (PSN) of the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists. These potential respondents worked in a total of 79 ICUs. It is pertinent to note that not all Canadian ICU pharmacists are members of this PSN, and not all members of the PSN are ICU pharmacists. Furthermore, a total of 208 Canadian hospitals (excluding hospitals in Quebec and Nunavut) report that they have an ICU (information provided by Canadian Institute for Health Information). Reminder e-mail messages were sent at 1 and 2 weeks after the initial invitation. The survey remained open for 2 months, from July 18 to September 18, 2007.
Responses were compiled by the SurveyMonkey software. The request to identify the centre (question 1) was used to ensure that the responses represented a variety of centres and allowed duplicate responses from the same centre to be eliminated. Results were summarized descriptively.