Electronic health records and adverse drug events after patient transfer.
Addressing handoffs in patient care is a continued challenge, particularly around medication safety. Medication reconciliation was seen as a preventive strategy to handle such concerns, though the lack of proven strategies led The Joint Commission to soften its previous National Patient Safety Goal. A commonly held belief is that electronic health records (EHRs) provide solutions to communicating health information. This study compared medication reconciliation events for patient handoffs within a computerized VA system to a paper-based system outside the VA. Interestingly, there was no significant difference between medication discrepancies and adverse drug events (ADEs) in the highly computerized system. The authors suggest that their findings support a need for specialized tools to facilitate medication review at times of transfer. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed medication reconciliation after an avoidable error.