Effect of pharmacy-led medication reconciliation in emergency departments: A systematic review and meta-analysis

J Clin Pharm Ther. 2019 Dec;44(6):932-945. doi: 10.1111/jcpt.13019. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


What is known and objective: Medication reconciliation is recommended to be performed at every transition of medical care to prevent medication errors or adverse drug events. This study investigated the impact of pharmacy-led medication reconciliation on medication discrepancies and potential adverse drug events in the ED to assess the benefits of pharmacy services.

Methods: The systematic review and meta-analysis was performed according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. The PubMed, Ovid Embase and Cochrane library databases were searched up from inception to 1 July 2018. Studies comparing the effectiveness of the medication reconciliation service performed by pharmacy personnel to usual care (nurses or physicians) in the ED were included. Duplicated studies, non-clinical studies, studies with ineligible comparators or study designs were excluded.

Results and discussion: Eleven studies were eligible for qualitative analysis, and 8 studies were included in meta-analysis. Pharmacy-led medication reconciliation substantially reduced medication discrepancies in the ED. The most common medication discrepancies included medication omission and incorrect/omitted dose or frequency. Unlike usual care, pharmacy-led medication reconciliation significantly reduced the proportion of patients with medication discrepancies by 68% (response rate 0.32; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.19-0.53, P < .0001) and the number of medication discrepancy events by 88% (response rate 0.12; 95% CI 0.06-0.26, P < .00001). Intervention decreased the number of discrepancies per patient by 3.08 (mean difference -3.08; 95% CI: -4.76 to -1.39, P = .0003). Subgroup analysis revealed no differences between pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in medication reconciliation performance pertaining to medication discrepancies. The patients with several comorbidities or those administered numerous medications received marked benefits related to reduced medication discrepancies from pharmacy-led medication reconciliation. Moreover, a randomized controlled trial revealed decreased risk of potential adverse drug events by pharmacy-led medication reconciliation in patients receiving care in the ED.

What is new and conclusion: Pharmacy-led medication reconciliation significantly decreased the number of medication discrepancies. However, only one study investigated potential adverse drug events in patients receiving care in the ED. Therefore, further studies investigating the direct clinical impact of decreased medication discrepancies are required.

Keywords: emergency service; hospital; medication reconciliation; pharmaceutical services.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Reconciliation / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacies / organization & administration*
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital / organization & administration*