From September 2007 Middlemore Hospital has embarked on an initiative to improve medicine safety for its patients. Coin phrased the “Think Pink Medication Reconciliation” campaign, hospital doctors and pharmacists have joined forces with community GPs and pharmacies to improve the communication of information on patients’ medicines.
Studies overseas have linked poor communication of information on entering hospital, transfer to a different ward and discharge from hospital, to as much as 50% of all medication errors. Medication errors can be very serious and can lead to serious complications, or even death. The most common medication errors include omission of a patients regular medicines, duplication of medicines and wrong doses or dosage forms.
Fortunately, studies overseas have also pinpointed some of the ways to prevent these medication errors. The process of reconciling a patient’s medications on admission with the medicines they usually take at home can make a profound difference.
An award winning study conducted at Middlemore Hospital over three months from October 06 to January 07 found medication errors were halved when this reconciling process was implemented. This study also highlighted that a patient’s own supply of medicines or their medicine list, their community doctor or community pharmacy were some of the most common sources of this essential information.
Patients admitted to Middlemore Hospital’s general surgery, orthopaedic, stroke and assessment and rehabilitation wards, should expect a clinical pharmacist to interview them or their caregiver about their regular medicines, over-the-counter products and natural remedies. They will verify this information with the patient’s community pharmacy or GP and highlight any discrepancies to the admitting team of doctors.
Patients can play a key role in this process by bringing their current medicine list or medicines with them when they go to hospital and ensuring their medicine list is updated whenever they see their GP or pharmacy.
The staff at Middlemore Hospital wishes to take this opportunity to thank the dedicated GPs and community pharmacies who through providing this essential information are helping to improve patient safety.
If patients have any questions concerning this project please contact Medicines Information on 09 276 0257.
Courtesy of Counties Manukau DHB and Jenni Lyuk