One of the many difficulties with medicines management in primary care is the information gap that exists between the primary and secondary care continuum with regard to the transfer of patients’ medication details. This study describes the procedures and drawbacks involved in bridging this information gap, with a view to improving medication safety and its implications on seamless patient care. The accuracy of the information transfer across multidisciplinary teams was audited by an interface pharmacist. Data from 41 general practitioners were analysed. Interventions made included identification of inappropriate medications and adjustments to ensure accurate medicines and doses. Two-hundred and eight (66 patients and 142 emergency patients) were evaluated. Medication errors were detected in a total of 58.7% of hospital admissions. The outcome of this study showed that the presence of a primary care pharmacist working within the hospital setting ensured accurate medication histories were available for patients, and any unintentional prescribing changes made during episodes of inpatient care were quickly identified and addressed. Swift electronic transfer of accurate discharge medication and laboratory tests enabled primary care clinical records to be immediately updated and primary care rationalisation of treatment to be effected. This ensured the safe and accurate use of medication by reducing the likelihood of transcription errors and adverse consequences occurring across the interface, thereby ensuring seamless patient care.
Shagufta Ahmed, Jennifer Harding
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