Objective: To assess two interventions for improving the accuracy of doctors' information about their patients' medication.
Design and setting: A 12-month two-armed (parallel designed) prospective study among elderly patients of four general practitioners (GPs) in two local government areas of Sydney's North Shore.
Patients: 206 elderly, ambulant, self-caring patients (69 men, 137 women; median age, 75 year; range, 60-94 years).
Intervention: Patients were issued with a medication record card (MRC), filled in by their GPs with what they believed to be the patient's current medications, and were asked to produce it at all subsequent consultations. Patients of two of the GPs were additionally asked to bring their currently used medications to all scheduled appointments.
Main outcome measure: Accuracy of the MRC, determined by confirmatory home visits and inspection of medications by a pharmacist.
Results: The proportion of patients with regimens recorded accurately on their MRCs improved significantly (from 25.9% to 42.0%) only in the group asked to bring their medications to consultations (P = 0.03). Most errors of recording were of omission, with patients taking a median of two medications (range, 0-10) of which their GPs were not aware.
Conclusion: Requesting that patients bring their medications to consultations, in conjunction with the use of medication record cards, can improve information for doctors about their patients' medications.