Feature Article

Strategies to prevent medication errors between acute and primary care

Feature Article

Strategies to prevent medication errors between acute and primary care

SELINA BOUGHTON, KATE ROPER, PATRICIA CONAGHAN

Figures

© StURti/iStocKPHoto.com modeLS USed FoR iLLUStRatiVe PURPoSeS onLY
© StURti/iStocKPHoto.com modeLS USed FoR iLLUStRatiVe PURPoSeS onLY

Abstract

Medication errors occurring at transitions of care are a significant contributor to patient harm. The transition between the primary and acute care settings presents a particular risk. GPs can be active participants in facilitating continuity of care and play an important role in preventing medication errors at transitions of care.

Key Points

  • Medication errors at transitions of care significantly increase the risk of patient harm.
  • Medication errors are often multifactorial, and confirming medication changes at each encounter with patients and their carers is essential in mitigating the risk of unintentional errors.
  • Formalised medication reconciliation processes can minimise unintentional medication errors and improve patient safety.
  • Simple strategies incorporated into daily practice can contribute to improving medication management between the acute and primary health care settings.
  • Developments in information technology and electronic health records have the potential to enhance the accuracy and delivery of medicines information.