Tag Archives: emergency room pharmacist

Study: Comparing pharmacists and nurses in med reconciliation

The US FDA approves 25 new drugs per year representing some 400 new formulations.

An article in Pharmacy Practice News last October, 2010 described a study conducted at the Medical Center of Aurora in Colorado that compared the accuracy and completeness of admission medication histories recorded by nurses and pharmacists respectively.

The study tracked 100 adults admitted to the emergency department over three months, who were able to respond to questions about their medications.  The ED nurse initially documented the patients home meds, apparently as part of the triage/assessment.  This was followed by an ED pharmacist interviewing all patients awaiting inpatient beds and updating the home med list originally collected.  On admission to the floor, a nurse was charged with reviewing the updated home medication list, interview the patient for a third time and document any changes.  Finally, the ED pharmacist would review all three iterations of the med history and follow up on any discrepancies by re-interviewing the patient or contacting the patient’s family, physician or community pharmacy for clarification when necessary.

In terms of the average number of meds documented per patient at each phase of admission, the ED nurse collected 3.87, the flor nurse 4.18 and the pharmacist 7.48 meds per patient.  The study found that omissions were the most common error and that vitamins and over the counter products were most often ommitted.  It also found that the pharmacist collected the most accurate med histories.