Medication Reconciliation During Transitions of Care as a Patient Safety Strategy: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Medication reconciliation identifies and resolves unintentional discrepancies between patients' medication lists across transitions in care. The purpose of this review is to summarize evidence about the effectiveness of hospital-based medication reconciliation interventions. Searches encompassed MEDLINE through November 2012 and EMBASE and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials through July 2012. Eligible studies evaluated the effects of hospital-based medication reconciliation on unintentional discrepancies with nontrivial risks for harm to patients or 30-day postdischarge emergency department visits and readmission. Two reviewers evaluated study eligibility, abstracted data, and assessed study quality.

Eighteen studies evaluating 20 interventions met the selection criteria. Pharmacists performed medication reconciliation in 17 of the 20 interventions. Most unintentional discrepancies identified had no clinical significance. Medication reconciliation alone probably does not reduce postdischarge hospital utilization but may do so when bundled with interventions aimed at improving care transitions.

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