A Dutch study found that as well as reducing medication errors, medication reconciliation processes result in a net cost benefit to health care providers.
Medicine reconciliation aims to identify discrepancies in medicine use at transitions of care. The reconciliation process is considered to be time consuming but few studies have actually looked at the labour costs involved and compared them with the reduced costs resulting from improved medicine use.
In this study, a pharmacy team assessed errors prevented by medicine reconciliation at admission and discharge using data from 262 patients. Medication costs and associated labor costs were evaluated at one month and six months after hospital discharge. The authors found that over a six month period, correcting hospital formulary changes resulted in a saving of €9.79 per patient and optimising pharmacotherapy e.g. start, stop, change, €86.86, resulting in a total saving of €96.65 per patient, significantly higher than the calculated associated labour costs at €41.04 per patient.
The authors concluded that preventing medication errors through medication reconciliation results in higher benefits than the time-related costs incurred.
The abstract and full text of the study can be found below on The Annals of Pharmacotherapy website. Please note subscription is required for the full report.