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NPs, PAs Prefer Medication Reconciliation with Pharmacy Technicians

Health care providers involved with collecting medication histories in the emergency department reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction after the implementation of a pharmacy technician-d

Healthcare 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 satisfaction levels after implementing a pharmacy technician-driven medication reconciliation process.

Investigators surveyed advanced nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses, physicians, and resident physicians involved with medication histories at two 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 effect that technology may have on this process in the future.

Highlights of the Results

  • Of 144 healthcare 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 collect medication histories was the most frequently reported barrier (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, healthcare 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 were 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.

The investigators concluded that pharmacy technicians have positively affected the medication reconciliation process at the surveyed sites. Healthcare 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. In contrast, pharmacy technicians concentrate on collecting histories.

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