Impact Insights

NHIT WEEK: Close to the Heart – Electronic Medication Reconciliation

One of the first projects I was given as a healthcare IT Application Analyst was Electronic Medication Reconciliation. Tasked with defining a process for electronically capturing home medications and integrating them into the inpatient medication list seemed like a daunting task but I was truly up for the challenge. You see, “Med Rec” had previously played a part in my life on a personal level and I was energized to make a difference through this project.

In 1992 my Nana suffered from coronary artery disease, had had a stroke, and used a pacemaker. On blood thinners to help manage her heart health and at the advice of her cardiologist; she was scheduled to have a routine angioplasty to increase blood flow in one of her arteries. During that procedure, her artery collapsed. Stents were not used at the time, so an emergency bypass was performed.

There were no electronic measures in place for Medication Reconciliation at that time and it was missed in the paper chart that my Nana was on Coumadin. Although the bypass surgery was successful, my Nana passed away from blood loss due to the anticoagulants she had been taking.  At the time I didn’t realize how intimately the loss of my beloved Nana would intertwine with my future purpose in Healthcare IT although I did have an acute awareness that this could’ve been prevented somehow.

Today, medication errors have decreased as the tools to electronically identify the right patient, the right medication, at the right time are widely available as well as required to ensure medication administration is appropriate, accurate, and safe. Med Rec will always be close to my heart as part of my personal story and I am grateful to have played a small part in improving patient care in memory of my Nana.