What is already known about this subject
• Structured medication interviews improve the medication history upon hospitalization
• Pharmacy records are valid lists of the prescribed medications available to individual patients
• In Denmark, treating doctors now have access to their patients' pharmacy records through a real-time online electronic database
What this study adds
• Omission errors are frequent among hospitalized patients despite structured drug interviews and home visits
• Pharmacy records may be used to minimize patients' recall bias and improve the medication lists
Structured medication interviews improve the medication history in hospitalized patients. In Denmark, a nationwide electronic version of individual pharmacy records (PR) has recently been introduced. Use of these records could improve the medication lists in hospitalized patients.
We prospectively included 500 patients admitted to an acute medical department. In individual patients, the PR was compared with (i) the medication list written in the patient chart and (ii) drug information provided by the patient during a structured drug interview upon admission and during a home visit after discharge.
Median patient age was 72 years. Upon admission, patients reported using 1958 prescription-only medications (POM) (median four drugs per patient, range 0–14), of which 114 (6%) were not registered in PR. In PR, 1153 POM (median one per patient, range 0–11) were registered during the month preceding admission. The patients did not report 309 (27%) of these upon admission. Home visits were performed in a subgroup of 115 patients. During home visits, 18% of POM registered in PR during the preceding month were not reported. Drug type was predictive of reporting irrespective of patient sex or age. Cardiovascular drugs were reported most and dermatologicals were reported less frequently. Underreporting might be due to recall bias, non-adherence or discontinuation of drugs.
Omission errors are frequent despite structured medication interviews. Pharmacy records or medication lists from all treating doctors must be included in medication reviews in order to reduce recall bias.