Study: 75% of hospital executives concerned patient medication data is incomplete, inaccurate

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Although approximately 83 percent of hospital executives say medication reconciliation is a multidisciplinary effort across the organization, 74.8 percent say incomplete and inaccurate medication data remains a top concern, according to a recent study.

The study, conducted in February by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives Foundation on behalf of DrFirst, an e-prescribing and medication management solutions provider, included responses from 120 hospital CIOs, CMIOs, directors of informatics and other hospital administrators.

Various issues challenge hospitals' medication reconciliation efforts, according to the study. The most commonly cited concerns include:

  • 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  • Outdated workflows that drive bad medication reconciliation practices (30.3 percent)

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that anywhere from 28 percent to 95 percent of all adverse drug events — which can cost individual hospitals up to $5.6 million annually — can be prevented by reducing medication errors through computerized monitoring systems. In total, inpatient medication errors cost hospitals $16.4 billion each year.

When asked about the most important aspects of a medication reconciliation process, more than half of all respondents named each of these components among the top three, according to the study:

  • Technology to enhance drug data stewardship
  • Technology for patient engagement and accountability
  • Additional data feeds to mitigate medication history gaps

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