Comparison of electronic pharmacy prescription records with manually collected medication histories in an emergency department

Ann Emerg Med. 2013 Sep;62(3):205-11. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2013.04.014. Epub 2013 May 18.


Study objective: Medication history is an essential part of patient assessment in emergency care. Patient-reported medication history can be incomplete. We study whether an electronic pharmacy-sourced prescription record can supplement the patient-reported history.

Methods: In a community hospital, we compared the patient-reported history obtained by triage nurses to a proprietary electronic pharmacy record in all emergency department (ED) patients during 3 months.

Results: Of 9,426 triaged patients, 5,001 (53%) had at least 1 (mean 7.7) prescription medication in the full-year electronic pharmacy record. Counting only recent prescription medications (supply lasting to at least 7 days before the ED visit), 3,688 patients (39%) had at least 1 (mean 4.0) recent medication. After adjustment for possible false-positive results, recent electronic prescription medication record enriched the patient-reported history by 28% (adding 1.1 drugs per patient). However, only 60% of patients with any active prescription medications from either source had any recent prescription medications in their electronic pharmacy record.

Conclusion: The electronic pharmacy prescription record augments the manually collected history.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Prescribing / standards
  • Electronic Prescribing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital* / standards
  • Emergency Service, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Community
  • Humans
  • Maryland
  • Medical History Taking* / statistics & numerical data