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Using a Novel Patient Medication List for Ambulatory Pediatric Patients Within a Hospital-Based Complex Care Program

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Background: Medication errors are common in the pediatric outpatient setting, and children with multiple prescriptions are at increased risk. Little is known about medication reconciliation's application in the ambulatory setting. Caregivers' perceptions of a patient medication list (PML), created for children with complex health needs, were assessed.

Methods: Caregivers of children followed by a tertiary care hospital ambulatory complex care program from February through December 2009 were enrolled in the study. An electronic PML software was nested within a clinical database. At the clinic visit, the medications were updated in the database by a nurse practitioner, and a PML was created and printed for the caregivers. Caregivers were asked to complete a pre-questionnaire before using the PML and a post-questionnaire 12 weeks later.

Results: The pre-questionnaire demonstrated that 19 (68%) of 28 caregivers expected the PML to be very helpful. After a mean of 19.3 weeks, on the post-questionnaire, 14 (50%) of the 28 caregivers reported that the PML was very helpful, 10 (40%) of 25 caregivers used the PML at every follow-up clinic visit, and 18 (67%) of 27 caregivers were satisfied with the PML. Five (18%) of 28 caregivers strongly agreed that the PML increased their knowledge of the child's medications, and 3 (11%) of 28 caregivers strongly agreed that the PML helped them remember to give the child's medications at home.

Conclusions: A subset of caregivers in a complex care program reported that a PML was helpful during interactions with their medical team. Yet in general, caregivers did not find the PML helpful in increasing their medication knowledge or reminding them to administer their child's medications.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • Published monthly, The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety is a peer-reviewed publication dedicated to providing health professionals with the information they need to promote the quality and safety of health care. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety invites original manuscripts on the development, adaptation, and/or implementation of innovative thinking, strategies, and practices in improving quality and safety in health care. Case studies, program or project reports, reports of new methodologies or new applications of methodologies, research studies on the effectiveness of improvement interventions, and commentaries on issues and practices are all considered.

    David W. Baker, MD, MPH, FACP, executive vice president for the Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission, is the inaugural editor-in-chief of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

    Also known as Joint Commission Journal on Quality Improvement and Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Safety
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