Posted on July 11, 2017 by Seema Nayani
We all know the importance of medication reconciliation, so why is there a significant lack of wide spread implementation of a formalized process throughout all care transitions such as admission, transfer or discharge? Medication reconciliation (MedRec) is the effective communication of a patient’s medication information across transition points in the health care system. MedRec, as many of us working in this space understand, is quite complex and actually implementing this process is challenging. With the increasing complexity of patients’ medication regimens and the multitude of information sources that need to be considered, it is no wonder that organizations aspiring for fully integrated MedRec are looking to electronic MedRec (eMedRec) solutions.
This is why the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada), Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) and Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) have released the Paper to Electronic MedRec Implementation Toolkit, 2nd Edition. With the updated version, this toolkit has been taken to the next level: more evidence, a how-to guide for implementation activities, and highlights of current patient safety challenges that can be remedied by eMedRec.
Evidence is emerging that implementing eMedRec helps improve patient safety. Adverse drug events related to MedRec at admission are reduced, as well as omissions of medications. Furthermore, unexplained discrepancies on discharge are detected. The evidence included in the toolkit supports the case for eMedRec implementation.
The toolkit also includes a how-to guide, which incorporates everything from understanding your current MedRec approach, to the selection and procurement of a solution, to training and engagement considerations. There is more in-depth guidance on how to evaluate your eMedRec implementation, while engaging clinicians and other end users. The updated screen shots and checklists are reflective of current practice. The toolkit now also includes examples of eMedRec solutions that import external source data to make the eMedRec process more comprehensive. Links throughout the main body of the toolkit help you easily find supporting resources.
Of note, opioid safety has been addressed in the toolkit update. Health Canada’s Joint Statement of Action to Address the Opioid Crisis emphasizes the need to have better communication around a patient’s use of opioids. The toolkit highlights where eMedRec can improve opioid safety, so this is kept top of mind when you are rolling out your eMedRec solutions.
Whether you are transitioning to eMedRec or looking for ways to optimize your current eMedRec solution, you will find the updated toolkit a great resource. As previously stated, eMedRec is challenging. To further support the guidance from the toolkit, Infoway hosts a national Medication Management Community, where the discussion can continue with members from across the country. Please consider joining the community and the ongoing discussion about medication safety. We would love to hear how you’re going to make eMedRec happen in your organization!
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Seema is a practicing clinical and community pharmacist, and continuously looks for opportunities to implement digital health solutions to improve patient care and the clinician experience. She is the Pharmacist Leader at Canada Health Infoway where she provides clinical expertise and support to a number of Infoway initiatives.