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BMJ Qual Saf. 2011 Apr;20(4):372-80. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs.2010.047845. Epub 2011 Feb 11.

Utilising improvement science methods to optimise medication reconciliation.

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Division of General and Community Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, OH 45229-3039, USA.



In 2005, The Joint Commission included medication reconciliation as a National Patient Safety Goal to reduce medication errors related to omissions, duplications and interactions. Hospitals continue to struggle to implement successful programmes that meet these objectives.


The authors used improvement methods and reliability principles to develop and implement a process for medication reconciliation completion at admission at a large, paediatric medical centre. Medication reconciliation was defined as recording a complete and accurate list of each patient's medications within 20 min of admission by the nurse and reconciliation of those medications within 24 h of admission by the physician. Interventions focused on five main areas: leadership and support from senior physicians and nurses to sustain a culture of safety; simplification and standardisation of the electronic medication reconciliation application; clarifying roles and responsibilities; creating a highly reliable and visible system; and sustainability.


At baseline, only 62% of patients had their medications reconciled within 24 h of admission. Over a 9-month period, ≥90% medication reconciliation was achieved within 24 h of admission. These results have been sustained for 27 months.


Through the use of improvement methods and reliability science, a sustainable process for medical reconciliation completion at admission was successfully achieved at a large, busy academic children's hospital.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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