Feature June 19, 2012 David Rossi

The importance of reconciling medication accurately

What is Medication Reconciliation?

Medication Reconciliation, or Med Rec, is the comparison of a patient’s prescribed medications to a list of medications the patient is already taking. Med Rec includes several key elements:

  1. Collecting medication list information from the patient
  2. Verifying medication list is accurate and current
  3. Comparing medications and determining any interactions or allergies

Why use Med Rec?

Med Rec provides benefits to both the physician and the patient, with the most important being improved patient care. Maintaining and utilizing accurate and up to date medication lists can prevent adverse effects to the patient from drug interactions, allergies, or duplicate therapy. Med Rec is also part of NIST’s Meaningful Use requirements, which regulates maintaining patient medication lists and also the ability to import and export them from EMR records.

What are the challenges associated with Med Rec?

Med Rec is only as good as the data used for it, so maintaining comprehensive patient medication lists and drug allergy and interaction databases are essential for successful use. The weakest point in the Med Rec process is collecting information from the patient. Patients may not be able to provide a complete list of their active medications and allergies for any number of reasons, from their current disposition to simply forgetting. Medications must be codified in order for them to be useful in queries of drug interaction and allergy databases. Users should be able to easily find generic and brand name drugs in the Med Rec system, and it should be flexible enough to make use of minimal information in case the patient is unsure of the specific details of a medication, such as dosage or strength.

An advantage of an EMR system including Med Rec is that patients with existing encounters have a baseline of data from previous prescriptions and home medication lists. An EMR system can calculate an estimated end date for prescriptions that were written in the system, based on dosage, quantity dispensed, and refills. In order to properly maintain the Med Rec list, the user should verify that previously prescribed medications are active or inactive, and discontinued medications have, in fact, been discontinued by the patient. A proactive and thorough approach to Med Rec is a valuable tool for improving the quality of care provided to patients.

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Shane Andreasen

Bravado Health


Bravado Health Media Line


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