Partners HealthCare: How EMR, health IT boosts medication reconciliation

Health IT changes can help bring medication reconciliation adherence to 98 percent, according to Partners HealthCare, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

With a program aimed at medication reconciliation, since 2005, Partners has instituted pre-admission and post-discharge medication lists to patients, all changes that required enterprise clinic, IT, and research collaboration, according to a CMIO article.

In 2006, The Joint Commission required medication reconciliation but perhaps not clearly enough.

"Medicine reconciliation is incredibly hard to implement, particularly because of its lack of an understandable definition," said Mass General Assistant Medical Director Claus Hamman, MD, in the article. The Joint Commission, which has traditionally issued many standards but leaves the implementation process up to the individual institutions, did not spell out the medication reconciliation process, according to the article.

The Partners program has resulted in 90 percent functionality of the related technologies, up from 10 percent before implementation.

Even with the focus on patient education, Partners says it recognizes the additional challenges that come with medication reconciliation including interoperability with pharmacy, rehab, and home care data.

Electronic medical records (EMR) systems could be one way of significantly improving medication reconciliation, according to a recent Journal of the American Medical Association editorial. Hospitals and health systems could make medication lists available during these transitions of care through EMRs.

"This new meaningful use standard may... present [CMIOs and IT leaders] with an opportunity to take the time to truly define the term, and how it can improve patient care," said Peter Basch, MD, medical director of e-health at MedStar Health, in the article.

For more:
- read the CMIO article

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