Exploring the contextual and human factors of electronic medication reconciliation research: a scoping review

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2013:194:166-72.


Medication reconciliation (MedRec) is an important task that occurs in a variety of different contexts. Similar to other healthcare practices, MedRec is transitioning from being a paper-based process to one that is performed electronically. This paper will provide a scoping review of the prevalent research topics from both contextual and human factors perspectives.

Methods: PubMed and CINAHL were searched for all articles including the term "medication reconciliation". The 139 articles that met inclusion criteria were reviewed for themes and findings.

Results: Three primary themes surfaced through this analysis: a) The contextual factors of MedRec, b) information technology (IT) in MedRec, and c) obstacles and opportunities for improving MedRec.

Discussion: MedRec is performed in a variety of settings. The transition to electronic MedRec (eMedRec) has the potential to mitigate errors associated with a paper-based system but also creates opportunities for new technology-induced errors to occur. Interoperability with other health information systems is ideal. Additionally, Process standardization and workflow are important considerations when transitioning to eMedRec.

Conclusion: As the process of medication reconciliation transitions from a paper-based to an electronic task, it is imperative to minimize the opportunity for human error and maximize the effectiveness of the system as a whole. Further, it is important for research to continue to explore original strategies for IT to enhance medication reconciliation.

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Clinical Pharmacy Information Systems / organization & administration*
  • Electronic Prescribing*
  • Ergonomics / methods*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Medication Reconciliation / organization & administration*
  • Medication Systems, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • User-Computer Interface*