Frequency of occurrence of medication discrepancies and associated risk factors in cases of acute hospital admission

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Charlotte D. van der Luit
Iris R. de Jong
Marieke M. Ebbens
Sjoerd Euser
Sjoerd L. Verweij
Patricia M. van den Bemt
Hanneke M. Luttikhuis
Matthijs L. Becker



Background: Medication discrepancies are a common occurrence following hospital admission and carry the potential for causing harm. However, little is known about the potential risk factors involved in medication discrepancies.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine how frequently medication discrepancies occur and their associated risk factors, in patients hospitalized via the emergency department of the Spaarne Gasthuis Hospital, located in The Netherlands.

Methods: This retrospective observational study examines 832 hospital admissions which took place between April 1st and June 30th, 2015. Medication reconciliation was performed within 24 hours of admission and medication discrepancies were registered. The primary outcome recorded in the study was the proportion of patients experiencing one or more medication discrepancies, as verified by the physician. As a secondary outcome, the association between these discrepancies and pre-specified variables was analyzed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

Results: At least one medication discrepancy was found to have occurred with 97 of the 832 patients (11.7%), the most common discrepancies involving incorrect drug dose (44.9%) and omission of medication (36.4%). In the univariate analysis, age (OR=1.03 [95% CI 1.02:1.04] p<0.001) and number of pre-admission medications taken (OR=1.13 [95%CI 1.09:1.17] p<0.001) were revealed to be significantly associated with the risk of medication discrepancies. Sex, type of medical specialty, and surgical versus non-surgical specialty were found not to be significantly associated with discrepancies. In the multivariate analysis, both the number of pre-admission medications (OR=1.10 [95%CI 1.06:1.15] p<0.001) and age (OR=1.02 [95%CI 1.01:1.03] p=0.004) were independently associated with the risk of medication discrepancy.

Conclusions: Of the total number of patients, 11.7% experienced one or more medication discrepancies following admission to the hospital. Elderly patients taking multiple drugs were found to be particularly at risk.

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