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During transitions of care, patient’s medications are prone to medication errors. This study evaluated the impact of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation at hospital admission on unintentional medication discrepancies and adverse drug events.
A randomized controlled clinical trial was conducted in 120 adult medical patients hospitalized in a tertiary hospital in Slovenia. In the intervention group, a pharmacist-led medication reconciliation was performed on admission, while the control group received usual care. Patient’s drug treatment before admission was compared with their admission and inpatient treatment to identify discrepancies. The intention of discrepancies and related adverse drug events were assessed as a consensus of an expert panel.
Included patients were elderly (median 72 years) and treated with polypharmacy (median 7 medications). Upon admission, discrepancies and unintentional discrepancies, representing a medication error, were identified in 61.2% (825/1347) and 18.3% (247/1347) of medications, respectively. In the intervention group, only 29.1% (37/127) of unintentional discrepancies were reported to the physicians in person. The majority of admission discrepancies (88%) persisted through hospitalization. Unintentional discrepancies resulted in 51 adverse drug events even during hospitalization. There were no differences between the intervention and control group in the occurrence of unintentional discrepancies (p = 0.481) or adverse drug events (p = 0.801).
Medication reconciliation at hospital admission failed to reduce unintentional discrepancies and adverse drug events, possibly due to its poor integration into clinical practice. Discrepancies resulted in patient harm even during the short period of hospitalization, which warrants the implementation of medication reconciliation at hospital admission.