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NPs, PAs Prefer Medication Reconciliation with Pharmacy Technicians

Health care professionals involved with collecting and reconciling medication histories in the emergency department — what medications a patient should be taking, is taking, and will be prescribed — reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction after the implementation of a pharmacy technician-driven medication reconciliation process.

Investigators[1] surveyed advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, physicians, and resident physicians involved with medication histories at 2 sites — Monmouth Medical Center and Saint Barnabas Medical Center, both in New Jersey — that had pharmacy technician-driven medication reconciliation processes.

Responses to 20 multiple-choice questions were used to determine resources employed and barriers faced when collecting medication histories, satisfaction before and after the involvement of pharmacy technicians in the ED, and the affect that technology may have on this process in the future.

Following are highlights of the results:

  • Of 144 health care professionals surveyed, 69.4% reported collecting medication histories through patient interviews. Reviewing a medication list provided by the patient (15.3%) and reviewing a medication history previously documented in the computer system (13.2%) were other sources.
  • Lack of time to spend on collecting medication histories was the barrier most frequently reported (44% of respondents). Other reported barriers included patients who don’t know the names of their medications (26.1%), patients who have an inaccurate list of medications (14.9%), and patients who present with altered mental status and cannot communicate (9%).
  • After the pharmacy technician-driven program was implemented, health care professionals’ satisfaction with the amount of required time improved significantly, from 18.8% to 68.9%.
  • Their satisfaction with the accuracy of medication histories improved from 40.3% to 75.4%.
  • About two-thirds (65.2%) of respondents reported they would almost always use technology if it was available.
  • However, 61.6% of respondents said they preferred investing health care resources in adding more pharmacy technicians in the ED rather than adding technology.

Pharmacy technicians have had a positive effect on the medication reconciliation process at the surveyed sites, the investigators concluded. Health care professionals reported greater satisfaction with their time demands and perceived accuracy of medication histories, giving them more time to focus on other patient care tasks while pharmacy technicians focus on collecting the histories.

Last updated on 9/14/19.

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