CMS 68 V3 – Documentation of Current Medications in the Medical Record

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Create DateDecember 15, 2015
Last UpdatedDecember 15, 2015

"In the American Medical Association's (AMA) ""Physician's Role in Medication Reconciliation"" (2007), critical patient information, including medical and medication histories, current medications the patient is receiving and taking, and sources of medications, is essential to the delivery of safe medical care. However, interruptions in the continuity of care and information gaps in patient health records are common and significantly affect patient outcomes. Consequently, clinical judgments may be based on incomplete, inaccurate, poorly documented or unavailable information about the patient and his or her medication regimen.

Medication safety efforts have primarily focused on hospitals; however, the majority of health care services are provided in the outpatient setting where two-thirds of physician visits result in writing at least one prescription (Stock et al., 2009). Chronically ill patients are increasingly being treated as outpatients, many of whom take multiple medications requiring close monitoring (Nassaralla et al., 2007).

Adverse drug events (ADE) prove to be more fatal in outpatient settings (1 of 131 outpatient deaths) than in hospitals (1 of 854 inpatient deaths) (Nassaralla et al., 2007). According to The Commonwealth Fund report (2010) about 11 to 15 of every 1,000 Americans visit a health care provider because of ADE in a given year, representing about three to four of every 1,000 patient visits during 1995 to 2001. The total number of visits to treat ADEs (VADEs) increased from 2.9 million in 1995 to 4.3 million visits in 2001.

ADE in the ambulatory setting substantially increased the healthcare costs of elderly persons and estimated costs of $1,983 per case. Further findings of The Commonwealth Fund studies additionally identified 11% to 28% of the 4.3 million visit related ADEs (VADE) in 2001 might have been prevented with improved systems of care and better patient education, yielding an estimate of 473,000 to 1.2 million potentially preventable VADEs annually and potential cost-savings of $946 million to $2.4 billion.

In the Institute for Safe Medication Practices ""The White Paper on Medication Safety in the U.S. and the Roles of Community Pharmacists"" (2007), the American Pharmaceutical Association identified that Americans spend more than $75 billion per year on prescription and nonprescription drugs. Unnecessary costs include: improper use of prescription medicines due to lack of knowledge costs the economy an estimated $20-100 billion per year; American businesses lose an estimated 20 million workdays per year due to incorrect use of medicines prescribed for heart and circulatory diseases alone; failure to have prescriptions dispensed and/or renewed has resulted in an estimated cost of $8.5 billion for increased hospital admissions and physician visits nearly one percent of the country's total health care expenditures.

In 2005, the rate of medication errors during hospitalization was estimated to be 52 per 100 admissions, or 70 per 1,000 patient days. Emerging research suggests the scope of medication-related errors in ambulatory settings is as extensive as or more extensive than during hospitalization. Ambulatory visits result in a prescription for medication 50 to 70% of the time. One study estimated the rate of ADEs in the ambulatory setting to be 27 per 100 patients. It is estimated that between 2004 and 2005, in the United States 701,547 patients were treated for ADEs in emergency departments and 117,318 patients were hospitalized for injuries caused by an ADE. Individuals aged 65 years and older are more likely than any other population group to require treatment in the emergency department for ADEs. (AMA, 2007).

The Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality's (AHRQ) ""National's Healthcare Disparities Report"" (2011) identified the rate of adverse drug events (ADE) among Medicare beneficiaries in ambulatory settings 50 per 1,000 person-years. In 2005, AHRQ reported data on adults age 65 and over who received potentially inappropriate prescription medicines in the calendar year, by race, ethnicity, income, education, insurance status, and gender. The disparities were identified as follows: older Asians were more likely than older Whites to have inappropriate drug use (20.3% compared with 17.3%); Older Hispanics were less likely than older non-Hispanic Whites to have inappropriate drug use (13.5% compared with 17.6%); Older women were more likely than older men to have inappropriate drug use (20.2% compared with 14.3%); there were no statistically significant differences by income or education.

Weeks et al. (2010) noted fragmented medication records across the health care continuum, inaccurate reporting of medication regimens by patients, and provider failure to acquire medication information from the patient or record all the necessary elements, present significant obstacles to obtaining an accurate medication list in the ambulatory care setting. Because these obstacles require solutions demonstrating improvements in access to information and communication, the Institute of Medicine and others have encouraged the incorporation of IT solutions in the medication reconciliation process. In a survey administered to office-based physicians with high rates of EMR use, Weeks et al. found there is an opportunity for universal medication lists utilizing health IT."