Posted on September 30, 2014 by Valerie Leung
The intent of medication reconciliation (MedRec) is to ensure effective communication about patients’ medications at healthcare transition points. And although it is a patient safety practice required by Accreditation Canada, implementing MedRec across the continuum of care continues to be a challenging task. However, electronic MedRec (eMedRec) solutions can simplify the task — and now there’s a toolkit that can ease your transition from paper to electronic medication reconciliation.
In a survey by the Institute of Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP) and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI), Canadian clinicians have said MedRec is particularly difficult in a paper-based system. They also identified technology as a critical success factor to moving MedRec forward and I couldn’t agree more.
While some healthcare organizations have achieved fully integrated eMedRec, most are still in transition or thinking about migrating from paper. This reality was well-articulated on a recent Safer Healthcare Now! National MedRec Webinar where two hospitals (Toronto East General Hospital and Whitehorse General Hospital) described their eMedRec journey.
To help support this important work, the Paper to Electronic MedRec Implementation Toolkit was jointly developed by ISMP Canada, CPSI and Canada Health Infoway.
Based on an extensive literature review and insight from over 200 survey respondents, I think the electronic MedRec Toolkit will be useful to anyone contemplating implementation or optimization, or are currently implementing or optimizing eMedRec. In addition to exploring the current state of eMedRec in Canada, the toolkit provides a detailed “how-to-guide” with approaches to eMedRec implementation and practical considerations on how to safely transition from paper.
As a clinician with experience implementing (and using) eMedRec systems, I think one of the most valuable aspects of the toolkit is the “Lessons Learned” section. Short and concise, the rich insight provided by researchers and Canadian practitioners will resonate wherever you are in your eMedRec journey. I know it made me think about potential ways to optimize my own practices pertaining to eMedRec…anybody else?
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Valerie is a practicing hospital pharmacist and advocate for the use of digital health to improve patient care. She is a Clinical Leader at Canada Health Infoway where she provides clinical expertise and support to a number of Infoway initiatives.