A toolkit for medicines reconciliation, released recently, is the latest resource produced by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) to support pharmacists in improving patient safety and contribute to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) third Global Patient Safety Challenge, ‘Medication without harm’. Under this programme of change, the WHO lists care transitions as one of three priority areas that need effective action in order to protect patients.
Transitions of care (such as admission to a healthcare facility, transfer between settings within a facility and at discharge, and also across different prescribers in community settings) can potentially lead to patient harm due to unintentional changes in medication or poor communication. A recent Cochrane Review, for example, found that 55.9 per cent of patients are at risk of having one or more medication discrepancies at transition of care.
Such medication discrepancies can lead to secondary illnesses, hospital admissions and even deaths. Medicines reconciliation is a standardised process that involves obtaining a patient’s comprehensive current medication list and reviewing it in relation to medication requested or used in any new setting, in order to identify and resolve any discrepancies in medication frequency, route, dose, combination and therapeutic purpose.
“Medicines reconciliation represents a key service across all transitions of care and, when led by pharmacists, is effective in reducing medication-related harm to patients. With this service, pharmacists can apply their medicines expertise to minimise errors and optimise medicines use, resulting in positive impacts on patient, clinical and economic outcomes. Medicines reconciliation should be practised in every healthcare setting,” said FIP CEO Dr Catherine Duggan.
FIP’s toolkit on medicines reconciliation outlines the principles and important processes that pharmacists should follow when providing the service. It summarises the definitions, impact and procedures for the implementation of pharmacist-led medicines reconciliation in both community and hospital healthcare settings, and offers a set of tools to support practice.
“Medicines reconciliation could eliminate medication discrepancies at transitions of care if the required resources are made available. The FIP toolkit can also be used as a guide to inform practice models and influence decision-makers and pharmacy practitioners to set up or remodel medicines reconciliation processes,” Dr Duggan added.