Health center board learns about medication reconciliation
The Jefferson County Health Center Board of Trustees learned how the facility is approaching patients’ medication reconciliation during a monthly meeting Monday evening at the health center.
Beth Diehl, who has been working on the project since June, explained medication reconciliation is the comparison of what medications a patient is taking at the hospital with what he is taking at home. The comparison helps give physicians complete information to make good decisions in caring for patients, she said.
Diehl and Gaila Oschwald explained a person admitted to the health center and his caregiver are questioned about what medications he is taking, if he takes them as prescribed, who manages his medications and where he gets his medications.
“Everybody needs to keep an updated list of medications on them,” advised Oschwald, adding the list also should include supplements that could interact with prescribed medications, allergies and reactions and dates of surgeries. “It’s not good to rely on memory. … It will help the physicians help you.”
In addition to talking to patients and their caregivers, Diehl also looks at nursing reports and physician reports and can add her own notes about any medication concerns that are discovered.
Oschwald said medication reconciliation is not unique to Jefferson County Health Center; hospitals nationwide are being encouraged to participate.
Diehl has been working with a lean expert and learning how to manage medication reconciliation.
The lean method, sometimes known as the Toyota Production System, is a way of streamlining processes, enhancing patient care, increasing employee satisfaction and improving finances. The lean method is becoming the gold standard for U.S. hospitals for doing more with less.
“Every day we learn something new,” said Oschwald.
“It’s a work in progress,” agreed Diehl.
As an example, the two women said they learned to specifically ask if a patient receives medications from the Veterans Administration or a mail-order pharmacy because many people do not consider those sources as pharmacies.
“A lot of things feed into this for it to work perfectly,” said Oschwald.