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Patients Presenting Medication Lists Reduce the Risk of Error During Hospital Admission
Date:5/6/2010

person">Kristine Gleason, RPh, BSPharm, a clinical quality leader at Northwestern Memorial and the lead research pharmacist for the study.

Another factor found to contribute to the potential for medication discrepancies among patients, is the complex prescription regimen that patients with multiple medical problems require. These patients are often prescribed multiple drugs, many of which can look or sound similar and cause confusion for the patient. Errors can also occur because people may be embarrassed to disclose certain medical issues.

Over one-third of the 651 study inpatients experienced medication discrepancies resulting in order changes. If these errors went undetected, 52 percent were rated as potentially requiring intervention to preclude harm and 11 percent were rated as potentially harmful.  The findings suggest clinicians must improve methods for obtaining and validating medication histories to increase accuracy and avoid patient harm, especially for older patients with a large number of medications.  Primary care physicians and other clinicians ought to help patients utilize and maintain complete, accurate and understandable medication lists and encourage patients to bring their lists and prescription bottles with them at every healthcare encounter.

"This is the first study to demonstrate that presenting a medication list is a significant protective factor for avoiding medication errors if lists and prescription bottles are appropriately utilized and validated by clinicians," said Gleason.

Northwestern Memorial has employed several strategies to reduce the risk of medication discrepancies.  Doctors, nurses and pharmacists collaboratively work together to reconcile medications as part of the medication management process. Pharmacists are directly involved in medication reconciliation with patients on m
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SOURCE Northwestern Memorial Hospital
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