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Medication reconciliation is the formal process in which health care professionals partner with patients to ensure accurate and complete medication information transfer at interfaces of care.1
It is well known that prescribing errors can result in harm to patients. Medicines reconciliation when patients are admitted to hospital is a process which aims to ensure that important medicines that the patient should be taking are not inadvertently stopped, and that any new medicines are prescribed in light of complete knowledge of the medicines a patient is already taking.
Medicines reconciliation originated as part of an initiative in the WHO High 5 s programme in 2006.1 This was a project to address continuing major concerns about patient safety around the world and involved the collaboration of several countries and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Patient Safety.
The main driver in the UK, however, was from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in collaboration with the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA). They issued guidance to the National Health Service (NHS) in England and Wales on how to ensure that any medication patients take prior to hospitalisation is properly documented on admission.2 Details to be recorded include the name of the medicine(s), dosage, frequency and route of administration, and they advised that pharmacists should be involved in the process as early as possible. The WHO state that medicines reconciliation should be done within 24 h of patient admission to hospital.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.