Hospital’s Community Medication Record part of Conference’s
Best Solutions Track for Patient Safety Initiatives
Atlantic General Hospital recently presented the results of its first step
in the creation of a comprehensive community medication record (CMR) for
Worcester County during the 3rd Annual Maryland Patient Safety Conference
in Baltimore. This innovation has received much interest from hospitals
throughout Maryland and around the country as health care institutions
strive to improve patient safety by reducing medication errors.
Medication error is a common threat to patient safety: it is estimated
that 7,000 patients die in the U.S. each year as a result of medication
errors and a larger number require further treatment. The American Hospital
Association points to incomplete patient information – including
known allergies and current medications – as one of a handful of
Through a $50,000 Cardinal Health Grant, Atlantic General Hospital created
a software solution to link hospital and physician office medication and
allergy records and thus reduce these kinds of errors. During the first
phase of the project, hospital medication and allergy records as well
as more than 2,000 records from two pilot physician offices were backloaded
into the CMR.
The medication record is bi-directional, meaning that both hospital staff
and physician office personnel can make updates to a patient’s list
of medications and allergies. This insures that the most up-to-date information
is available for each patient, improving and speeding the medication reconciliation process.
The first results gleaned from Atlantic General Hospital’s efforts
were astounding. Medication discrepancies for inpatients fell from 64
percent to 17 percent as hospital staff were able to access medication
records from the primary care physician’s office through the CMR
rather than rely on the lists of home medications provided by the patients
Medication information sharing after discharge improved as well. Prior
to launching the program, only 5 percent of patients’ physician
office charts included the list of medications given to the patient while
in the hospital. Now, 100 percent of the patient charts at the two pilot
physician offices include the hospital medication discharge list, ready
and waiting for the patients’ first follow up appointments.
Hospital clinicians and physician office staff alike have embraced the
CMR, citing its ease of use and efficiency as plusses.
“My office staff has absolutely fallen in love with this product,”
said Dr. Edwin Castenada, whose internal medicine practice was one of
the two off-site offices that participated during the pilot phase. “It
has helped streamline tremendously our medication reviews for office appointments.
We have almost completely eliminated any handwritten tasks for medication
During future phases, Atlantic General Hospital plans to expand the CMR
to the hospital’s emergency room and other departments as well as
to physician offices in the community. They will also create additional
features such as bar coding and electronic prescription transmission to
As a requisite for funding through the Cardinal Health Grant, Atlantic
General Hospital will be sharing this software solution with health care
organizations across the country to further encourage the development
of community medication records and improve patient safety nationwide.
For more information about the Community Medication Record, please contact
Murray Oltman, Director of Information Services, Atlantic General Hospital,
at (410) 629-0913.