Saturday, November 12, 2005

Medication discrepancies at the transitions of health care

Quality improvement efforts in medication safety have traditionally focused on errors during hospitalization. In contrast, medication errors at the transitions between hospital and home have received little attention. I pointed this out before. A recent issue of Archives of Internal Medicine contains this study which found medication discrepancies between home and hospital medication lists in about 14% of patients. Risk factors for discrepancies were the number of medications taken and the diagnosis of heart failure. Discrepancies were associated with an increased risk of readmission. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations is now focusing on this problem. Attention to this aspect of quality and safety is long overdue.

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