Effect of therapeutic interchange on medication reconciliation during hospitalization and upon discharge in a geriatric population.

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Effect of therapeutic interchange on medication reconciliation during hospitalization and upon discharge in a geriatric population.

PLoS One. 2017;12(10):e0186075

Authors: Wang JS, Fogerty RL, Horwitz LI

Abstract
BACKGROUND: Therapeutic interchange of a same class medication for an outpatient medication is a widespread practice during hospitalization in response to limited hospital formularies. However, therapeutic interchange may increase risk of medication errors. The objective was to characterize the prevalence and safety of therapeutic interchange.
METHODS AND FINDINGS: Secondary analysis of a transitions of care study. We included patients over age 64 admitted to a tertiary care hospital between 2009-2010 with heart failure, pneumonia, or acute coronary syndrome who were taking a medication in any of six commonly-interchanged classes on admission: proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), histamine H2-receptor antagonists (H2 blockers), hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). There was limited electronic medication reconciliation support available. Main measures were presence and accuracy of therapeutic interchange during hospitalization, and rate of medication reconciliation errors on discharge. We examined charts of 303 patients taking 555 medications at time of admission in the six medication classes of interest. A total of 244 (44.0%) of medications were therapeutically interchanged to an approved formulary drug at admission, affecting 64% of the study patients. Among the therapeutically interchanged drugs, we identified 78 (32.0%) suspected medication conversion errors. The discharge medication reconciliation error rate was 11.5% among the 244 therapeutically interchanged medications, compared with 4.2% among the 311 unchanged medications (relative risk [RR] 2.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.45-5.19).
CONCLUSIONS: Therapeutic interchange was prevalent among hospitalized patients in this study and elevates the risk for potential medication errors during and after hospitalization. Improved electronic systems for managing therapeutic interchange and medication reconciliation may be valuable.

PMID: 29049325 [PubMed - in process]

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