Feature Article

Strategies to prevent medication errors between acute and primary care



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


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.