Patient review of med lists in EHRs can reduce discrepancies

Patient review and reporting of medications lists can reduce discrepancies and improve patient safety, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The researchers, primarily from Brigham and Women's Hospital, studied 11 primary care practices that used the same personal health record system tied to their electronic health record system. The study used a medications module that prompted patients to review the medication lists in their provider's EHRs via the PHR and identify discrepancies by generating "ejournals" that would enable the physician to quickly update the medications lists, according to a recent CMIO article. A sample of 267 patients were contacted by phone three weeks after submitting their ejournals, compared to a control sample of 274 patients that received a different PHR-linked intervention.

The researchers found that there were fewer unexplained medication discrepancies, 42 percent, in the group using the ejournal tool, versus 51 percent in the control group. The number of unexplained discrepancies with the potential for severe harm was 0.03 in the ejournal group, compared to 0.08 in the control group.

"When used, concordance between documented and patient-reported medication regimens and reduction in potentially harmful medication discrepancies can be improved with a PHR medication review tool linked to the provider's medical record," the researchers noted.

Other studies have reported that patients want to view their medication lists and other information in their provider's EHRs. Providing patients with this access also has been shown to make the information in an EHR more accurate, since patients will catch and report mistakes in their own records.

To learn more:
- here's the abstract of the study
- read the CMIO article
- check out the actual clinical trial
- here's more information on using patients to reduce EHR errors