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Hosp Pharm. 2016 May;51(5):396-404. doi: 10.1310/hpj5105-396.

Utilization of Pharmacy Technicians to Increase the Accuracy of Patient Medication Histories Obtained in the Emergency Department.



The purpose of this study is to determine the accuracy of a pharmacy technician-collected medication history pilot program in the emergency department. This was completed by reviewing all elements of the technician activity by direct observation and by verifying the technician-collected medication list through a second phone call by a pharmacist to the outpatient pharmacy.


This was a retrospective, single-center study conducted from March to April 2015. Four certified pharmacy technicians were trained by a postgraduate year 1 (PGY1) pharmacy practice resident on how to collect, verify, and accurately enter medication histories into the electronic medical record. Accuracy of pharmacy technician-collected medication histories was verified by a pharmacist through observation of their patient interviews, review of technician-completed medication history forms, and by contacting the patient's outpatient pharmacy.


The pharmacy technician-completed medication histories resulted in an absolute risk reduction of errors of 50% and a relative risk reduction of errors of 77% (p < .001) in comparison to medication histories collected by non-pharmacy personnel.


With high accuracy rates, pharmacy technicians proved to be a valuable asset to the medication history process and can enhance patient safety during care transitions. The results of this study further support the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative vision to advance the pharmacy technician role to improve the process of medication history taking and reconciliation within the health care system.


electronic medical record; medication errors; medication history; medication reconciliation; pharmacy technician

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