Beliefs of Ambulatory Care Physicians about Accuracy of Patient Medication Records and Technology-Enhanced Solutions to Improve Accuracy


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Abstract: The continuing problem of inaccurate medication records and resultant harm from medication errors has prompted the Institute of Medicine and others to encourage information technology (IT) solutions to improve medication list accuracy. There are few studies on how ambulatory care documentation contributes to medication list inaccuracies and medication reconciliation failures. To address medication reconciliation issues in ambulatory care, office-based physicians in a region with a high adoption rate for electronic medical records (EMRs) were surveyed about current reconciliation practices, the need for redesigning reconciliation processes, and acceptable IT solutions for improving availability of medication information. Physicians selected from a list of potential IT platforms that would create a single reconciled record of prescription medications, nonprescription medications, and supplements accessible wherever patients go. The two most popular platforms were either an aggregated list within existing EMRs accessible by inpatient and outpatient providers regardless of their EMR system, or a web-based repository that was not integrated into an EMR. Respondents felt that implementation of such platforms would not require major changes to clinical workflow, perhaps due to the region's existing familiarity with health IT. Leveraging community acceptance of health IT could result in rapid implementation of universally accessible medication list platforms.