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Hospital admission medication reconciliation in medically complex children: an observational study


Objective To evaluate admission medication reconciliation in children with medically complex conditions (MCC) by determining the availability and accuracy of five information sources and characterising admitting order errors.

Design Prospective quality improvement cohort study.

Setting Tertiary care free-standing children's hospital in the Intermountain west, USA.

Participants 23 children with MCC identified from 219 admissions between 16 December 2004 and 7 January 2005.

Intervention Medication reconciliation at hospital admission using information from five sources.

Main outcomes The accuracy of information sources was determined by sensitivity and specificity compared with verified outpatient medication lists. Errors were determined by comparing admitting orders with reconciled inpatient medication lists and categorised by frequency, type and clinical risk.

Results Children with MCC averaged 5.3 chronic medications. The reconciliation process took an average of 90 min. Availability/sensitivity/specificity respectively were parents 52%/0.75/0.96, pharmacy 61%/0.64/0.74, primary provider 43%/0.25/0.86, last admission electronic health record 87%/0.74/0.33 and admitting history 65%/0.31/0.94. Thirty-nine errors were identified in 182 admission medications (21%) including 17 omissions, affecting 13 patients (57%). The estimated clinical risk, if an adverse drug event had occurred, was serious or life-threatening in five instances.

Conclusions In children with MCC admitted at our institution during the study period, no medication information source was optimally available, sensitive and specific. Admitting order medication errors affected more than half of patients, the most common being omissions. Efforts to improve medication reconciliation at hospital admission in this population must account for availability and accuracy of information sources and medication omissions at the time of hospital admission.

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