Medication reconciliation could well become the new ally of patients with chronic diseases! Behind this complicated expression lies a practice that is still not very widespread but is very useful for improving patient care. Its purpose?
To check that the right treatments have been prescribed to the patient at each stage of the care process, in order to avoid any medication errors. Reconciliation is particularly useful when patients enter or leave the hospital, as they are not followed by the same doctors as in everyday life.
Sharing the right information between health professionals
By sharing the right information, healthcare professionals can therefore identify and avoid medication errors. Prescriptions can be complex when a patient has to take several medicines a day! Reconciliation thus ensures continuity of treatment and safe management. There is less risk that an error or omission will disrupt your prescription or your follow-up in the hospital.
Correcting errors from one prescription to the next
In practical terms, let’s take the example of a patient entering the hospital. The hospital pharmacist may decide to perform a conciliation in order to secure the patient’s care. To do this, he must question at least three different sources, such as
- The patient himself
- The patient’s pharmacist in town
- The patient’s GP
- His carers
- Specialist doctors
Conciliation allows the most exhaustive review possible of the treatments taken and to be taken by the patient. The hospital pharmacist will compare this review with the prescription written by the hospital doctor on admission to the hospital.
This will enable the pharmacist to identify any changes that the hospital doctor may have made unintentionally and to make recommendations to ensure that the patient’s care is optimal.
Where is medication reconciliation carried out?
Medication reconciliation can therefore be carried out in hospital but also in the community. The idea is to establish a link between the various health professionals involved in the care of a patient, as well as to establish a link between the city and the hospital: conciliation often takes place at the beginning of a hospital stay, in order to ensure that the patient’s care will be appropriate during his or her convalescence.
All health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, midwives, etc.) can perform medication reconciliation.
However, it is a time-consuming activity that is not yet widespread. Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, and France, in particular, have participated in experiments on this practice. Also, hospitals and medical facilities practice Prescribing Skills Assessment (PSA) programs while recruiting doctors, and medical staff, to find qualified ones.
Can I benefit from medication reconciliation?
In theory, any patient can be subject to reconciliation. However, as it takes time, patients who are most at risk of medication errors are the first to benefit from it. These patients often have several medical conditions and take a large number of medicines per day: they are the ones who need reconciliation the most.
It is not yet possible to request a medication reconciliation directly, but the practice is growing rapidly. In Canada, for example, almost all hospitalized patients benefit from reconciliation. It is to be hoped that France will draw inspiration from these techniques to ensure that as many patients as possible benefit from them.
The patient’s role: being the first source of information
During reconciliation, the important thing for the hospital pharmacist or any other health professional is to be able to collect valid information. To be able to provide reliable information in the event that you are questioned for a reconciliation of your treatments, you must therefore be familiar with the treatments you take on a daily basis.
At the very least, it is essential to keep your valid prescriptions with you at all times so that you can present them. In general, take your recent health documents with you when you go to appointments or hospital.