Patient safety has been on everyone’s mind since the Institute of Medicine released its landmark report on patient safety five years ago. But the growing interest in medication safety will be of particular interest to inpatient physicians like hospitalists.
The issue? Too many inpatients enter the hospital and receive a double dose of certain drugs, or they stop receiving critical therapies like blood thinners. At least one study shows that up to 15 percent of adverse events caused by drug problems are due to medication reconciliation issues.
By reconciling multiple medication lists, physicians can reduce patient problems not only in the hospital, but after discharge. The issue has attracted so much attention that the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations added medication reconciliation to its patient safety goals for hospitals for this year.
What will the issue mean for hospitalists? As our story in this month’s issue points out, reconciling patients’ extensive medication lists is no small task. It requires the participation of just about everyone, from physicians to nurses to pharmacists.
The payoff, however, can be huge. Complete drug lists make it easier to manage patients not only while they’re in the hospital, but at discharge as well. That’s why many hospitals are going to turn to hospitalists for help managing their medication reconciliation initiatives.
What is your institution doing to meet this goal? I’d like to hear from you by e-mail.