Medication reconciliation is paramount to patient safety.
Medication errors are common and can occur when patients change healthcare providers or move between several different healthcare entities. Many of the errors occur during admission, transfers, or even discharge.
Several of these types of errors can cause a patient harm. For example, older individuals or patients taking several different medications have an increased risk of experiencing medication errors during admission, and patients can experience medication discrepancies during hospital transfers as well. Medication discrepancies can also occur during general practice and final discharge. Adhering to the guidelines of medication reconciliation will greatly decrease these errors.
By obtaining, verifying, and documenting a patient’s medications and comparing that list to the medication orders can eliminate this problem, diminishing and resolving these medication discrepancies.
Medication reconciliation is the process of recognizing a precise list of all of the medications that any patient is currently using. These include the name, dosage, frequency, and route. By comparing medical records to an external list of medications obtained from the patient, hospital, or another provider, correct prescriptions can be regulated. Also taken into consideration are the medications the patient is currently taking, to compare them with any new medications introduced and to resolve any potential issues.
By introducing and implementing a regulated medication solution process, medication reconciliation lowers the number of patients with unintended disparities and errors and supports safe medication use by patients. By collecting and maintaining accurate and complete medication information for a patient, this information is used within and across the scope of care to ensure safe and effective medication use. Medication reconciliation is one of the main components that’s demonstrated effectiveness in regard to preventing any adverse side effects and maintaining patient health and safety.
The Institute of Medicine’s 1999 report on medication errors, To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System, revealed some startling data that remains relevant more than two decades later. In it medication errors were identified as the most common type of health system error. The report went on to implicate medication errors as a contributing factor in the deaths of thousands of patients every year with estimated costs in the hundreds of billions.
Pharmacists, because of their skills, knowledge, and abilities, are extremely adept and qualified to lead collaborative efforts to create and maintain an essential medication reconciliation process in hospitals across the healthcare system.
Pharmacists can lead the way in regard to developing solid medication reconciliation procedures and policies. They can improve and implement reconciliation activities, train and coach staff in the process, and make sure they’re compliant. They can also help develop data extraction and information records. Pharmacists can be strong advocates for medication reconciliation services to physicians, nurses, healthcare providers, and their communities.
Physicians can utilize their collaborative relationship with pharmacists by relying on them to complete a patient’s medication reconciliation. When compared to nurses, pharmacists identified a higher number of medications taken by patients. This includes herbal medications as well as over-the-counter medications. The role pharmacists play in medication reconciliation is paramount to reducing errors and maintaining patient safety.
References: An Overview of To Err is Human: Re-emphasizing the Message of Patient Safety ASHP Statement on the Pharmacist’s Role in Medication Reconciliation Medication Reconciliation Medication Reconciliation to Prevent Adverse Drug Effects ASHP Statement on the Pharmacist’s Role in Medication Reconciliation Value of the Pharmacist in the Medication Reconciliation Process