January 18, 2022

Ensuring the “best possible” medication history

About 80% of hospital admission electronic records were missing a drug prescribed to an older adult, Vanderbilt researchers found, highlighting the need for a multipronged approach to address medication discrepancies and support safe prescribing practices.

Best Possible Medication History (BPMH) is a systematic process of gathering a medication history from at least two independent sources, including pharmacy records, patient interviews and other sources to ensure patients are receiving the drugs they have been prescribed and in the correct dosages.

This is particularly important for older patients, many of whom are taking 10 or more medications dispensed by more than one pharmacy.

In applying BPMH to 372 older hospitalized adults, Avantika Saraf Shah, MPH, Eduard Vasilevskis, MD, MPH, and colleagues found that 80% of admission electronic records were missing a drug that had been prescribed, 41% listed a drug that could not be verified on recent pharmacy records, and 36% listed a differing dose of a medication.

The findings, reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, highlight the need for a multipronged approach to obtain a BPMH during hospital admission to improve the accuracy of admission electronic medical record medication lists for older adults with comorbidities.

This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health, award number AG053264.