Evaluation of medication reconciliation process in internal medicine wards of an academic medical center by a pharmacist: errors and risk factors

Link to article at PubMed

Intern Emerg Med. 2022 Mar;17(2):377-386. doi: 10.1007/s11739-021-02811-y. Epub 2021 Aug 3.


Medication reconciliation based on complete medication histories has been introduced to minimize medication errors and its associated healthcare costs in the transitions of care. In this study, to evaluate the routine process of medication reconciliation in an academic medical center, medication history taken at the time of admission by physicians and the first order prescribed in the hospital was compared to a comprehensive reconciliation form filled by a pharmacist using direct interview of the patients and caregivers, patient's insurance records and medication packages they brought from home. Two hundred and fifty-seven patients admitted in the internal wards of an academic medical center between June and September 2019 were investigated. In 6% of the patients, drug history was not included in the medical history form. Other patients were using 8.59 drugs in average, with a mean of 3.55 medication discrepancies in the history-taking process. Most commonly occurring errors were drug omissions (2.23 per patient on average) and incorrect frequency (0.96 per patient on average). There was a mean of 0.7 potentially harmful discrepancies for each patient. The mean number of drug discrepancies in new prescriptions from the hospital was 1.25, and almost half of patients had a potentially harmful discrepancies reordered in the hospital. There was no statistically meaningful relationship between patients' gender, physicians' gender, or the time of history taking and the total number of medication errors. History of ischemic heart disease was significantly associated with higher number of medication errors (p = 0.05). The results suggest that the medication reconciliation process in this academic center is inefficient. Using a systematic approach in medication reconciliation and gathering the best possible medication history, with a pharmacist who has better understanding of drugs' potential interactions and harmful errors can improve this process and prevent such errors in the future.

PMID:34342787 | DOI:10.1007/s11739-021-02811-y

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