Study: EHRs Help With Medication Reconciliation, but Issues Remain | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: EHRs Help With Medication Reconciliation, but Issues Remain

July 30, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

Electronic health records (EHRs) can help standardize medication reconciliation for hospitalized patients, but data quality, technical problems and workflow issues continue to pose challenges, according to a new study from the National Institute for Health Care Reform (NIHCR).

Designed to reduce errors, medication reconciliation is a systematic way to ensure accurate patient medication lists at admission, during a hospitalization, and at discharge. Previous research has found that unintended medication discrepancies are common, affecting up to 70 percent of hospital patients at admission or discharge, with almost a third of discrepancies potentially causing patient harm.

Despite hospital accreditation and other requirements, use of medication reconciliation has lagged for many reasons, including insufficient physician engagement, which stems, in part, from lack of professional consensus about which physician is responsible for managing a patient’s medication list and the value of medication reconciliation as a clinical tool to improve care, the study found.

Conducted for NIHCR by researchers at the former Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC)—Joy M. Grossman, Ph.D., Rebecca Gourevitch and Dori A. Cross—the study examined how 19 hospitals across the U.S. were using EHRs to support medication reconciliation.

According to the study, key challenges to effective medication reconciliation include improving access to reliable medication histories, refining EHR usability, engaging physicians more fully, and routinely sharing patient information with the next providers of care.

Other key findings from the study include:

  • While hospitals reported that EHR vendors have been adding and enhancing medication reconciliation functionality over time, more than a third of the hospitals in the study still used a partially paper-based process at admission, discharge or both.
  • The hospitals with fully electronic processes at admission or discharge had implemented EHR medication reconciliation modules, which like paper forms, allow comparison of medication lists at those transitions. Actions taken on each medication are then automatically converted into orders, substantially streamlining the workflow by eliminating the need to re-enter data.
  • Hospitals with fully electronic processes at discharge also were able to take advantage of the discharge medications in the EHR to electronically generate legible and more patient-friendly discharge instructions and electronic prescriptions. Less commonly used features included the capability to incorporate the same medication list into the discharge summary and electronically share discharge medication information with the next providers of care.

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Epic Wins Labor Dispute in Closely Divided Supreme Court Decision

Epic Systems Corporation won a major labor-law ruling in the Supreme Court on Monday, centering around the extent of corporations’ right to force employees to sign arbitration agreements, and with a 5-4 ruling in its favor

Survey: Two-Thirds of Physician Practices Seeking Out Value-Based Care Consulting Firms

Most physician organizations are not prepared for the move to value-based care, and 95 percent CIOs of group practices and large clinics state they do not have the information technology or staff in-house needed to transform value-based care end-to-end, according to a recent Black Book Market Research.

Cumberland Consulting Buys LinkEHR, Provider of Epic Help Desk Services

Cumberland Consulting Group, a healthcare consulting and services firm, has acquired LinkEHR, which provides remote application support, including Epic help desk services.

Population Health Tool that Provides City-Level Data Expands to 500 Cities

A data visualization tool that helps city officials understand the health status of their population, called the City Health Dashboard, has now expanded to 500 of the largest cities in the U.S., enabling local leaders to identify and take action around the most pressing health needs in their cities and communities.

Trump will Nominate Acting VA Secretary Wilkie for Permanent Position

Just a day after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Cerner inked their $10 billion EHR (electronic health record) deal, President Trump said he would be nominating Acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie for the permanent position.

ONC Names API Server Showdown Stage 2 Winner

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has named 1UpHealth as the Stage 2 winner of the “Secure API Server Showdown” challenge.