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Patients presenting medication lists reduce the risk of error during hospital admission
Date:5/5/2010

Chicago - A recent study conducted at Northwestern Memorial Hospital found that almost 50 percent of medication discrepancies were related to a failure to understand all of the prescription medications patients were taking at the time of hospital admission. While it's common for patients not to recall all of their medications, especially when they are not feeling well or being unexpectedly admitted to the hospital, the results can be serious. The study, one of the largest conducted among hospitalized patients, highlighted the need for hospitals to modify processes and for healthcare providers to strongly encourage patients to keep a comprehensive and up-to-date list of all medications they are taking.

"When a patient is admitted to a hospital they typically receive new medications or have changes made to their existing prescriptions. Since the new medication regimen may conflict with drugs that patients are already taking, it is imperative that physicians and patients have an open dialogue and discuss current prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Even common pain killers like Tylenol must be reported," said Gary Noskin, MD, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, associate chief medical officer at Northwestern Memorial and principal investigator for the study.

The study, designed to determine risk factors and potential harm associated with medication errors at hospital admission, was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Results found the majority of unexplained medication discrepancies originated when obtaining patients' medication histories, a process that involves both the clinician and the patient. The outcome suggested the need for more thorough interviews, as well as for patients to keep complete and accurate lists of all medications they are, or have recently taken.

"Obtaining medication histories from patients is really challenging and errors are all too c
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Contact: Angela Salerno
asalerno@nmh.org
312-926-8327
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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