Effectiveness of an electronic tool for medication reconciliation in a general surgery department
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Background Medication reconciliation is a key tool in the prevention of adverse drug events. Objective To assess the impact of an electronic reconciliation tool in decreasing unintended discrepancies between medications prescribed after surgery and the patient’s usual treatment. Setting General Surgery Department of Gregorio Marañón’s University General Hospital, Madrid. Method A pre-post intervention study with no equivalent control group was carried out between June 2009 and December 2010. Patients hospitalized in the General Surgery Department for 24 h or more, and whose prescriptions prior to admission included three or more drugs were included in the study. Patients were interviewed to gather information about their usual treatment drugs. Discrepancies between the latter and the drugs prescribed after surgery were assessed before and after the medication reconciliation electronic tool was implemented. Main outcome measure Proportion of patients with at least one unintended discrepancy. Results A total of 107 patients in the pre-intervention phase and 84 patients in the post-intervention phase were included. We detected 1,678 discrepancies, 167 were found to be unintended. The number of patients with at least one unintended discrepancy was 43 (40.2 %) in the pre-intervention phase, and 38 (38.1 %) in the post-intervention phase, p = 0.885. The percentage of unintended discrepancies over the total amount of drugs reconciled was lower in the post-intervention phase than in the pre-intervention phase (6.6 vs. 10.6 %), p = 0.002. Regarding unintended discrepancies 79.2 % were grade C severity (the error reached the patient but caused no harm), 13.6 % grade D (the error reached the patient and required monitoring or intervention to preclude harm) and 7.1 % grade E (the error may have contributed to or resulted in temporary harm to the patient and required intervention). Conclusion Implementation of an electronic tool facilitated the process of medication reconciliation in a general surgery unit. The proportion of unintended discrepancies over the total amount of drugs reconciled was reduced after the implementation of the reconciliation programme. However, we could not demonstrate a more significant impact due to some methodological limitations.
KeywordsClinical pharmacy information systems Drug-related side effects and adverse reactions Electronic prescribing Medication errors Medication reconciliation Patient safety Spain
We thank every participant team (Preventive Medicine and Quality Assessment, General Surgery and Pharmacy staff) for their cooperation. We are grateful for their interest and help in the development of the programme.
The project was funded through a collaborative agreement between the Spanish Ministry of Health and Social Policy and the authorities of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, which aims to foster safe practices in the region’s healthcare facilities.
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.
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