Hospital leaders view process, buy-in and ownership as key medication reconciliation challenges and look to technology partners to help improve processes

June 22, 2017

ROCKVILLE, Md. – DrFirst, the market leader in e-prescribing and delivering intelligent medication management solutions that improve patient safety, today released survey findings identifying key medication reconciliation challenges faced by hospitals today.

The survey[1] of hospital CIOs, CMIOs, Directors of Informatics and other hospital administrators, conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Foundation on behalf of DrFirst, points to a new trend: Technology alone isn’t enough; hospitals need true partnerships with their technology providers to effectively implement new processes and close any existing gaps around driving improved medication reconciliation and patient safety.

The survey results mirrored the macro trend that most hospital executives prioritize comprehensive medication reconciliation programs. However, despite the fact that nearly 83 percent of respondents report that medication reconciliation is a multidisciplinary effort across the organization, three out of four hospital executives (74.8 percent) say their top concern is still incomplete and inaccurate medication data. Hospital leaders are also concerned about:

  • Inconsistent practices across departments, disciplines and shifts (59.7 percent)
  • Patients being discharged with an incorrect medication list (47.9 percent)
  • Difficulty importing external medication history, including home medications (46.2 percent)
  • Lengthy patient interviews that required calls to families, pharmacies and providers (42.9 percent)
  • Outdated workflows that drive bad medication reconciliation practices (30.3 percent)

Just under 60 percent of the leaders completing the survey cite “inconsistent practices across departments, disciplines and shifts” as a major medication reconciliation challenge. Survey respondents took the time to expound, pointing out specific process problems such as “inconsistent practices,” “operational ownership challenges” and “complex workflows.”

Adverse drug events (ADEs) cost up to $5.6 million each year per hospital, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The same agency estimates that anywhere from 28 percent to 95 percent of ADEs can be prevented by reducing medication errors through computerized monitoring systems.

“Simply put, improving medication reconciliation helps save lives,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. “The CHIME survey results showcase something we’ve learned while working alongside our hospital customers: medication reconciliation efforts are only as good as the data available, the processes in place and the technology to seamlessly connect it all.”

With inpatient medication errors costing hospitals $16.4 billion each year, hospital leaders have turned their attention to identifying proven technologies and processes to help reduce the risk of ADEs, including medication reconciliation. When asked about the most important aspects of a medication reconciliation program, the top three answers all centered on technology. More than half of all respondents named each of these components among the top three:

  • Technology to enhance drug data stewardship
  • Technology for patient engagement and accountability
  • Additional data feeds to mitigate medication history gaps

Overwhelmingly, hospitals see a significant role for technology in medication reconciliation efforts. Most hospital leaders surveyed said that their IT teams were highly involved with medication reconciliation efforts, whether strategically with a seat at the leadership table (36.7 percent), or technically as subject matter experts deploying solutions (24.2 percent) or both (28.3 percent).

Readers can access the accompanying infographic, which outlines the survey results, here:


About DrFirst

DrFirst, the nation’s leading provider of e-prescribing and medication management solutions, enables stakeholders across the healthcare industry to intelligently utilize comprehensive real-time data and connectivity to increase their patient safety ratings, efficiency and profitability. Today, over 170,000 healthcare professionals and over 60% of Electronic Health Record vendors depend on DrFirst’s innovative software solutions to improve clinical workflows, expedite secure collaboration across a patient’s care team and drive better health outcomes. The company’s integrated technologies include its award-winning electronic prescribing platform, the most comprehensive medication history available, clinically specialized secure messaging, as well as patient medication adherence monitoring and benefits checking. In addition, DrFirst was the first to offer e-prescribing for controlled substances (EPCS), and is considered the industry standard for providers nationwide. For more information, please visit or connect with us @DrFirst.

[1] This survey was conducted online within the United States by the CHIME Foundation on behalf of DrFirst in February 2017. Results include input from 120 hospital executives.