September 27, 2011
How big of a role does uncovering patient medication history and medication management mean in an acute care setting? Knowing a patient’s medication history faster, electronically managing medications throughout their inpatient stay, and electronically prescribing discharge instructions all contribute to a higher quality of care that greatly reduces adverse drug events – some of which can be fatal. The great news is more medical providers are taking advantage of electronic tools than ever before.
According to Surescripts, the nation’s e-prescribing network, prescription histories delivered to prescribers grew from 81 million to 230 million, 2009 to 2010, respectively. Today, caregivers can have access to more than 200 million patient records, in real-time, 365 days a year. The country is getting medically ‘connected’ at a phenomenal rate, which is incredibly useful for the hospitals that are taking advantage of it.
When an acute care facility has electronic medication history in place, it provides that facility with valuable patient information in seconds. By offering physicians a more complete picture of a patient’s current medications provides faster / better decisions that can save lives.
Electronic Medication history combats poor historians and is invaluable for ED’s when a patient presents and is unconscious. Using a driver’s license or some form of identification, the ED staff can enter the patients name and address to access their medical history, which might save the patient from a life threatening adverse drug or allergy event.
This proactive, ‘hands-on’ approach to medication management can continue with e-prescribing when patient is discharged. The doctor may prescribe a pain medication like Celebrex, which on paper can sometimes be confused with Cerebyx, an anti-seizure medication.
With paper prescriptions, the wrong medication might be written incorrectly, filled incorrectly, or have drug-drug/drug-allergy interactions with pre-existing medication which could be fatal for the patient. E-prescribing discharge medication greatly reduces these risks with clinical error checking at the point-of-care.
Furthermore, if the patient’s insurance doesn’t cover a brand name product, then a generic one of equal value will be suggested in a matter of seconds. This saves the patient (and the doctor) the hassle of returning for an insurance-covered prescription drug.
Facilities that do not have electronic medication history, medication management, or e-prescribing in place put their patients at greater risk for adverse drug events.