COLUMBIA, Mo. Medication reconciliation is a safety practice in which health care professionals review patients' medication regimens when patients transition between settings to reduce the likelihood of adverse drug effects. It is among the most complex clinical tasks required of physicians, nurses and pharmacists, who must work cooperatively to minimize discrepancies and inappropriate medication orders. Now, a University of Missouri gerontologiccal nursing expert suggests that acknowledging practitioners' varying perspectives on the purpose of medication reconciliation and their roles in the process might increase implementation in health care institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes.
Amy Vogelsmeier, assistant professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, and researchers from the Salt Lake City Veteran's Affairs Medical Center and the University of Utah found that health care professionals often viewed medication reconciliation as a "checklist" task rather than a higher-level thinking process that involves considering patients' entire therapeutic plans.
"Medication reconciliation is more than just matching medication lists when patients transition among hospitals, personal residences, nursing homes and other health care settings," Vogelsmeier said. "It's an opportunity to ask whether medications are still appropriate and consistent with the patients' therapeutic goals and then to make adjustments to their medication regimens if needed. The constant surveillance of medications is critical because adverse drug events happen when people are taking medications they no longer need or aren't taking medications they need."
Vogelsmeier analyzed data gathered by colleagues in Utah from focus groups with physicians, nurses and pharmacists at three U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs Health Administration hospitals. Professionals in the three disciplines perceived their roles in medication reconciliation differently. In reality, jo
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University of Missouri-Columbia