Seven strategies to improve medication reconciliation

In 2005, the Joint Commission began requiring all accredited organizations to develop, test, and implement medication reconciliation processes in order to reduce medication errors. Since then, hospitals have utilized seven strategies to improve medication reconciliation.

In 2005, the Joint Commission began requiring all accredited organizations to develop, test, and implement medication reconciliation processes in order to reduce medication errors. Since then, hospitals have utilized seven strategies to improve medication reconciliation. First, emergency medicine physicians and hospitals are building relationships since emergency department personnel are usually the first to ask patients about their medication history. As a result of these two groups collaborating, patients are now coming in with more accurate medication histories. Another strategy to improve medication reconciliation is to have pharmacy technicians gather patients' initial medication histories. Additionally, hospitalists will sit down with patients and their caregivers to discuss their medication use. "We can talk directly about patients' concerns about medications and clarify discrepancies that may have crept in, such as changes in the medication dose," noted Eric Poolman, MD, MBA, chief of hospital medicine at Northwest Permanente in Oregon. Other strategies to improve medication reconciliation include tapping into prescription databases, working with IT professionals to create technological solutions, collaborating with pharmacists, and researching best practices.