Medication errors are a common cause of avoidable morbidity, and transfer between clinical settings is a known risk factor for such errors. Medicines reconciliation means there is no unintended discrepancy between the medication prescribed for a patient prior to admission and on admission. Our aim was to improve the quality of practice supporting medicines reconciliation at the point of admission to a psychiatric ward.
An audit-based quality improvement programme (QIP), using the proxy measure for medicines reconciliation of two or more sources of information being consulted about current medicines, and compared.
At baseline audit, 42 Trusts submitted data for 1790 patients. At re-audit 16 months later, 43 Trusts submitted data for 2296 patients. While doctors were most commonly identified in Trust policies as having overall responsibility for medicines reconciliation, the task was most often undertaken by pharmacy staff, with most activity occurring within 24 h of admission. The proportion of patients in whom medicines reconciliation was possible was 71% at baseline and 79% at re-audit. In such patients, discrepancies were identified in 25% at baseline and 31% at re-audit; a small proportion of these discrepancies were clearly clinically significant.
This QIP achieved modest improvement in medicines reconciliation practice.