Studies in health care systems around the world have shown that patients/clients may be susceptible to medication errors at transitions of care (admission, transfer, and discharge) otherwise known as adverse drug events.
These errors most commonly occur when a patient/client is moved to another level of care, to another service provider, transferred to a new facility, or referred to a new physician, resulting in gaps in communication about their medications. In all instances, adverse drug events can be serious, life-threatening and even fatal.
Medication reconciliation is a process that helps prevent adverse drug events by ensuring care providers and patients and their families are in communication at every stage of patient transition. This helps ensure all the necessary information is collected and information is
provided back to the patient to help prevent an adverse drug event.
Part of the process of medication reconciliation involves the use of medication reconciliation forms. These forms are printed to verify the list of medications the patient/client is currently taking, and can also be used at times to create new orders/prescription. Different institutions have different standards when it comes to the format of these medication reconciliation order/prescription forms. The forms usually list the medication on the left of the form with an “action” column to the right that reconciles what the patient/client is supposed to do with the medication. The right hand column becomes the prescription. The many different looks and formats may spur questions about the validity of these documents as legal prescriptions.
It is therefore important to note that as long as a medication reconciliation order/prescription form is authentic, complete, signed by an authorized prescriber and contains all information required by legislation, it can be accepted as a legal prescription. Please refer to the Health Professions Act Bylaw, Schedule F, Part 1 – Community Pharmacy Standards of Practice for further details on the legal requirements of a prescription.”