Medicines reconciliation using a shared electronic health care record.
Achieving medication reconciliation continues to present significant challenges, despite existing guidelines and its demonstrated impact on patient safety. Electronic health records (EHRs) and related tools have long been touted as solutions to bolster reconciliation safety. This study evaluated whether an EHR shared between outpatient and inpatient providers could reduce suspected medication discrepancies. Although errors were reduced, significant discrepancies persisted among various forms of reconciliation, including differences between what was in the record and what patients actually reported taking. Problems included outdated or incomplete medication information, incorrect information provided by patients, or mismatched information between the different sources. The authors argue that EHRs, as an added information vehicle, may help reduce reconciliation errors, but they caution that EHRs are only a tool (and not in themselves a solution) for safer reconciliation. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed whose job it is to assure safe medication reconciliation.