EHR medication lists may not match clinic notes, study finds

EHR medication lists may contain inaccuracies leading to potential threats to patient safety, according to a study published in JAMA Ophthalmology.

To keep track of prescribed medications, patients often use medication lists automatically generated from EHRs. For the study, researchers at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center in Ann Arbor examined medication-related information contained in EHRs for microbial keratitis treatment patients between July 2015 and August 2018.

Researchers gathered medication-related information for 24 men and 29 women. Of the 247 medications identified, 23.1 percent of prescribed medications differed between the physician's clinic notes and the formal EHR-based medication list.

The reasons for the mismatches included:

• Medications not prescribed via the EHR ordering system
• Outside medications not reconciled in the internal EHR medication list
• Medications prescribed via the EHR ordering system and in the formal list, but not described in the clinical notes

Nearly one-third of patients had at least one medication mismatch in their record.

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