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Journal Article > Commentary
Bails D, Clayton K, Roy K, Cantor MN. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2008;34:499-508.
Medication reconciliation—the process of cross-checking patients' medication lists to correct errors and inadvertent omissions—was named a National Patient Safety Goal in 2005. Despite this, no consensus exists yet as to the best method of accomplishing medication reconciliation. This description of the process of implementing medication reconciliation at an urban public hospital includes much information that will be helpful for hospitals undertaking a similar process. The authors detail the barriers faced in developing the system (which was incorporated into an existing computerized order entry system), encouraging use of the system, and improving it based on user feedback. Prior research in this area has demonstrated the effectiveness of pharmacists at carrying out medication reconciliation.
Journal Article > Study
Concept and development of a discharge alert filter for abnormal laboratory values coupled with computerized provider order entry: a tool for quality improvement and hospital risk management.
Mathew G, Kho A, Dexter P, et al. J Patient Saf. 2012;8:69-75.
Adverse events after hospital discharge are a continued threat to patient safety and the basis for interventions targeting key contributing factors. Premature discharge is an area less studied, partly because the decision-making for safe discharge falls on individual providers and their clinical assessment. This study developed a set of triggers based on selected laboratory abnormalities that could systematically identify patients potentially unsafe for discharge. Triggers that led to a discharge alert included an elevated white blood cell count, a rising creatinine level, specific abnormalities in electrolytes, and an elevated international normalized ratio (INR) in the absence of anticoagulant therapy. The discharge filter tool requires further validation, but it represents an innovation that leverages computerized systems to provide safer care.
Journal Article > Study
Schillig J, Kaatz S, Hudson M, Krol GD, Szandzik EG, Kalus JS. J Hosp Med. 2011;6:322-328.
Patients receiving warfarin therapy are at high risk for adverse events. Interventions to improve warfarin safety have focused on trigger tools, communication protocols, and the use of visual medication schedules. This study implemented a pharmacist-directed anticoagulation service to capture inpatients on warfarin and provide them with dosing, monitoring, and coordination of transition from the inpatient to outpatient setting. This cluster randomized trial demonstrated safer transitions in 73% more patients and a 32% reduction in the composite safety end point, which was driven by fewer patients experiencing an INR ≥ 5 (i.e., supratherapeutic levels that increase the risk of bleeding). This study adds further support to the role of pharmacists in driving medication safety, specifically for warfarin in both the inpatient and community settings. A past AHRQ WebM&M commentary discussed a case of a near miss due to a warfarin drug interaction that led to a supratherapeutic level following hospital discharge.