Brigham study looks at reducing harm from medication discrepancies

Medication discrepancies lead to the deaths of between 7,000 and 9,000 U.S. patients each year, but collecting a consolidated medication list before admission and upon discharge can significantly reduce the frequency, a study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found. 

"This is one of those areas where people just assume hospitals can always do it correctly, but it's actually pretty difficult in practice," study author Jeffrey Schnipper, MD, research director of the Brigham's Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, said in a press statement shared with Becker's. "The average patient coming to a hospital has multiple doctors, is taking several different medications, and may not be consistently taking what they've been prescribed."

The study, published in the BMJ Quality and Safety journal, and known as MARQUIS2, was conducted across 18 hospitals in North America and rolled out a toolkit to use as a resource for hospitals in reducing medication discrepancies, which was found to reduce these instances by 5 percent each month and nearly 67 percent overall when implemented. 

By far, the researchers reported that the most effective methods from the toolkit were "taking a comprehensive medication history before hospital admission, while patients are still in the emergency department, and reconciling medications upon discharge by comparing regimens prior to admission, during the hospitalization and in discharge orders," according to the news release.

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