DrFirst recently released survey findings identifying key medication reconciliation challenges faced by hospitals today.
The survey of hospital CIOs, CMIOs, directors of informatics, and other hospital administrators, conducted by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Foundation on behalf of DrFirst, points to a new trend: Technology alone isn't enough; hospitals need true partnerships with their technology providers to effectively implement new processes and close any existing gaps around driving improved medication reconciliation and patient safety.
The survey results mirrored the macro trend that most hospital executives prioritize comprehensive medication reconciliation programs. However, despite the fact that nearly 83% of respondents report that medication reconciliation is a multidisciplinary effort across the organization, three out of four hospital executives (74.8%) say their top concern is still incomplete and inaccurate medication data. Hospital leaders are also concerned about the following:
Just under 60% of the leaders completing the survey cite "inconsistent practices across departments, disciplines, and shifts" as a major medication reconciliation challenge. Survey respondents took the time to expound, pointing out specific process problems such as "inconsistent practices," "operational ownership challenges," and "complex workflows."
Adverse drug events (ADEs) cost up to $5.6 million each year per hospital, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The same agency estimates that anywhere from 28% to 95% of ADEs can be prevented by reducing medication errors through computerized monitoring systems.
"Simply put, improving medication reconciliation helps save lives," says G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst. "The CHIME survey results showcase something we've learned while working alongside our hospital customers: medication reconciliation efforts are only as good as the data available, the processes in place and the technology to seamlessly connect it all."
With inpatient medication errors costing hospitals $16.4 billion each year, hospital leaders have turned their attention to identifying proven technologies and processes to help reduce the risk of ADEs, including medication reconciliation. When asked about the most important aspects of a medication reconciliation program, the top three answers all centered on technology. More than half of all respondents named each of these components among the top three:
Overwhelmingly, hospitals see a significant role for technology in medication reconciliation efforts. Most hospital leaders surveyed said that their IT teams were highly involved with medication reconciliation efforts, whether strategically with a seat at the leadership table (36.7%) or technically as subject matter experts deploying solutions (24.2%) or both (28.3%).
Readers can access the accompanying infographic, which outlines the survey results, at