Approximately 7000 deaths occur yearly in the United States as a result of medication errors, and 1.5 million people are harmed by adverse drug events at a cost of $3.5 billion per year. Computerized order entry has been shown to decrease the number of medication errors by 55% to 80 % in the hospital. This has led many to advocate the use of electronic medical records in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. However, there is little evidence at present that electronic medical records reduce adverse drug events in the outpatient setting. This may be largely due to the quality of medication lists in the medical record: Among complicated patients, complete agreement between the medication list and what the patient is actually taking occurs in only 5% of patients. Unless there is improved medication reconciliation, it will be difficult to realize the potential safety benefits of information technology. An accurate medication list requires a healthcare team dedicated to obtaining and maintaining this information.
Keywords: Medication Reconciliation, adverse drug events, inpatient, outpatient, information technology
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