Despite multidisciplinary efforts to improve medication reconciliation, hospital CIOs still report unsatisfactory results, with three out of four concerned that their organization’s medication history data is incomplete or inaccurate, according to a new survey conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Foundation.
The survey of 120 hospital CIOs, CMIOs, directors of informatics and other hospital administrators, conducted by CHIME in February 2017 on behalf of DrFirst, a provider of e-prescribing and medication management solutions, identifies key medication reconciliation challenges faced by hospitals today.
Findings from the survey indicate that hospital leaders view process, buy-in and ownership as key medication reconciliation challenges and look to technology partners to help improve processes.
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, almost 75 percent of these healthcare executives say their top concern is still incomplete and inaccurate medication data.
Just under 60 percent of the leaders completing the survey cite “inconsistent practices across departments, disciplines and shifts” as a major medication reconciliation challenge. What’s more, survey respondents pointed out specific process problems such as “inconsistent practices,” “operational ownership challenges” and “complex workflows,” according to the survey findings.
Specifically, hospital CIOs, CMIOs and other informatics leaders who responded to their survey identified the following problems:
- 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- Outdated workflows that drive bad medication reconciliation practices (30.3 percent)
What’s more, hospital leaders report that disparate systems are often unable to exchange information effectively, exacerbating practice inconsistencies organization-wide. With regard to missing capabilities, 35 percent of the hospital leaders surveyed report they have zero access to external medication history data feeds, and more than half (53 percent) report they can’t access external medication history via data feeds integrated within the electronic health record (EHR).
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,” G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst, said in a statement. “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.”
Inpatient medication errors cost hospitals $16.4 billion each year, and hospital leaders have turned their attention to identifying proven technologies and processes to help reduce the risk of ADEs, including medication reconciliation.
More than half of all respondents identified the top 3 best practices of medication reconciliation, all three of which leverage technology:
- Better data - Enhanced drug data stewardship through technology
- More engagement – Patient engagement and accountability through technology
- Less gaps – Mitigation of medication history gaps though additional data feeds
The survey findings indicate that hospital leaders 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).