Medicines reconciliation using a shared electronic health care record

J Patient Saf. 2011 Sep;7(3):148-54. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e31822c5bf9.


Objective: : This study aimed to evaluate the use of a shared electronic primary health care record (EHR) to assist with medicines reconciliation in the hospital from admission to discharge.

Methods: : This is a prospective cross-sectional, comparison evaluation for 2 phases, in a short-term elderly admissions ward in the United Kingdom. In phase 1, full reconciliation of the medication history was attempted, using conventional methods, before accessing the EHR, and then the EHR was used to verify the reconciliation. In phase 2, the EHR was the initial method of retrieving the medication history-validated by conventional methods.

Results: : Where reconciliation was led by conventional methods, and before any access to the EHR was attempted, 28 (28%) of hospital prescriptions were found to contain errors. Of 99 prescriptions subsequently checked using the EHR, only 50 (50%) matched the EHR. Of the remainder, 25% of prescriptions contained errors when verified by the EHR. However, 26% of patients had an incorrect list of current medications on the EHR.Using the EHR as the primary method of reconciliation, 33 (32%) of 102 prescriptions matched the EHR. Of those that did not match, 39 (38%) of prescriptions were found to contain errors. Furthermore, 37 (36%) of patients had an incorrect list of current medications on the EHR.The most common error type on the discharge prescription was drug omission; and on the EHR, wrong drug. Common potentially serious errors were related to unidentified allergies and adverse drug reactions.

Conclusions: : The EHR can reduce medication errors. However, the EHR should be seen as one of a range of information sources for reconciliation; the primary source being the patient or their carer. Both primary care and hospital clinicians should have read-and-write access to the EHR to reduce errors at care transitions. We recommend further evaluation studies.

MeSH terms

  • Continuity of Patient Care / organization & administration*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospitals, Teaching / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Medical History Taking / methods*
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Patient Admission
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Safety*
  • Prospective Studies