Background: Medication discrepancies are common when patients cross organisational boundaries. However, little is known about the frequency of discrepancies within mental health and the efficacy of interventions to reduce discrepancies.
Objective: To evaluate the impact of a pharmacy-led reconciliation service on medication discrepancies on admissions to a secondary care mental health trust.
Setting: In-patient mental health services.
Methods: Prospective evaluation of pharmacy technician led medication reconciliation for admissions to a UK Mental Health NHS Trust. From March to June 2012 information on any unintentional discrepancies (dose, frequency and name of medication); patient demographics;and type and cause of the discrepancy was collected. The potential for harm was assessed based on two scenarios; the discrepancy was continued into primary care, and the discrepancy was corrected during admission. Logistic regression identified factors associated with discrepancies.
Main outcome measure: Mean number of discrepancies per admission corrected by the pharmacy technician.
Results: Unintentional medication discrepancies occurred in 212 of 377 admissions (56.2 %). Discrepancies involving 569 medicines (mean 1.5 medicines per admission) were corrected.The most common discrepancy was omission(n = 464). Severity was assessed for 114 discrepancies. If the discrepancy was corrected within 16 days the potential harm was minor in 71 (62.3 %) cases and moderate in 43(37.7 %) cases whereas if the discrepancy was not corrected the potential harm was minor in 27 (23.7 %) cases and moderate in 87 (76.3 %) cases. Discrepancies were associated with both age and number of medications; the stronger association was age.
Conclusions: Medication discrepancies are common within mental health services with potentially significant consequences for patients.Trained pharmacy technicians are able to reduce the frequency of discrepancies, improving safety.