Implementation strategies in the context of medication reconciliation: a qualitative study

Implement Sci Commun. 2021 Jun 10;2(1):63. doi: 10.1186/s43058-021-00162-5.


Background: Medication reconciliation (MedRec) is an important patient safety initiative that aims to prevent patient harm from medication errors. Yet, the implementation and sustainability of MedRec interventions have been challenging due to contextual barriers like the lack of interprofessional communication (among pharmacists, nurses, and providers) and limited organizational capacity. How to best implement MedRec interventions remains unclear. Guided by the Expert Recommendations for Implementing Change (ERIC) taxonomy, we report the differing strategies hospital implementation teams used to implement an evidence-based MedRec Toolkit (the MARQUIS Toolkit).

Methods: A qualitative study was conducted with implementation teams and executive leaders of hospitals participating in the federally funded "Implementation of a Medication Reconciliation Toolkit to Improve Patient Safety" (known as MARQUIS2) research study. Data consisted of transcripts from web-based focus groups and individual interviews, as well as meeting minutes. Interview data were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis and the constant comparison technique.

Results: Data were collected from 16 hospitals using 2 focus groups, 3 group interviews, and 11 individual interviews, 10 sites' meeting minutes, and an email interview of an executive. Major categories of implementation strategies predominantly mirrored the ERIC strategies of "Plan," "Educate," "Restructure," and "Quality Management." Participants rarely used the ERIC strategies of finance and attending to policy context. Two new non-ERIC categories of strategies emerged-"Integration" and "Professional roles and responsibilities." Of the 73 specific strategies in the ERIC taxonomy, 32 were used to implement the MARQUIS Toolkit and 11 new, and non-ERIC strategies were identified (e.g., aligning with existing initiatives and professional roles and responsibilities).

Conclusions: Complex interventions like the MARQUIS MedRec Toolkit can benefit from the ERIC taxonomy, but adaptations and new strategies (and even categories) are necessary to fully capture the range of approaches to implementation.

Keywords: ERIC; Implementation strategies; Medication reconciliation; Quality improvement.