Hospital executives believe that applying a multidisciplinary effort will improve their medication reconciliation process, according to a recent study by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Foundation on behalf of DrFirst. Yet, despite their efforts to engage multiple departments, 3 out of 4 respondents still worry that medication history data is incomplete and/or inaccurate.
According to the surveyed CIOs, CMIOs and informatics directors, comprehensive and effective medication reconciliation is a high priority for most hospitals – which is not surprising given that inpatient medication errors currently cost hospitals $16.4 billion each year. Among the surveyed leaders, almost 83 percent report that their organization has implemented a system-wide medication reconciliation initiative.
The majority of healthcare leaders also recognize that technology can enhance the effectiveness of medication reconciliation programs. In particular, respondents favor the use of technology to enhance drug data stewardship; for patient engagement and accountability; and to provide additional feeds to mitigate medication history gaps.
Despite their appreciation of technology, most of the hospital leaders admit that their organizations are not taking advantage of solutions that would improve reconciliation efforts and disparate systems are oftentimes unable to exchange information effectively. For example, less than half of the executives have access to external medication history data feeds from within their EHR, while more than a third don’t have access to any sort of external medication history data feeds.
In addition to worries about the possibility of incomplete/inaccurate medication histories, the surveyed hospital leaders express concerns about:
- Inconsistent reconciliation practices across departments, disciplines and shifts
- Discharging patients with incorrect medication lists
- Difficulties importing external medication histories, including home medications
- Lengthy patient interviews that require calls to families, pharmacies or providers
- Workflows that are outdated and drive bad medication reconciliation practices.
Multidisciplinary efforts are limited by the lack of external data feeds and inconsistency in practices applied across departments. Hospital leaders can strengthen their multidisciplinary processes and enhance communication across their systems by ensuring data quality, establishing consistent processes, and utilizing technology to fill the gaps and make connections. By incorporating technologies that deliver medication histories from sources beyond the hospital HIS and patient interviews, hospitals can improve the medication reconciliation process and minimize gaps in history. Added to existing workflows, these data feeds minimize the time required to interview patients and their families, while also facilitating the standardization of reconciliation practices across the organization to ultimately result in more accurate medication lists.
If your organization struggles with medication reconciliation, consider involving technology partners that minimize medication history gaps and allow providers to treat patients with safe and appropriate therapies sooner. By optimizing medication reconciliation processes, hospitals have the opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care – and save more lives.
View our infographic, which summarizes the survey findings: