Valdosta, Ga. – On February 3, the SGMC Emergency and Pharmacy Departments began a new program to improve the hospital’s documentation of emergency patients’ pre-admission medications. Pharmacy technicians are now stationed 24/7 in the main campus emergency department to gather and input pre-admission medications into the patient’s electronic health record. “Knowing the medications you are currently taking is important for your safety,” said Cindy Vickery, RPh, administrative director of pharmacy. “Called medication reconciliation, this list of previously-prescribed medications and over-the-counter substances is a vital part of the patient’s medical history. By knowing what herbals, vitamins, over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs patients are currently taking, the pharmacy techs can provide an accurate list for the affiliated physicians as they begin to care for the patient.” Pharmacists urge all persons taking any medications and herbals to keep a current list in his or her wallet. This list should include the name of the drug, strength, dose and frequency.According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, medication reconciliation helps to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors or drug interactions. “The medication history is the cornerstone for medication reconciliation. It also helps ensure that patients receive better instructions about their medicines,” Vickery added. While Vickery acknowledges that many times people are confused regarding their medications when they arrive at the hospital, the process can move forward if the patient can provide the name of their drug store. “During business hours, the hospital pharmacy can contact the patient’s current pharmacy to get the names and strengths of their medications,” Vickery added. “However, it is preferred that individuals carry a current list of medications with them so the list is available should an emergency or hospital inpatient visit be necessary.”Medication reconciliation is one of the national patient safety goals set by The Joint Commission, the organization that accredits healthcare organizations. “We are excited to be a part of this project and are excited about its potential impact for our patient outcomes,” Vickery concluded. For more information, contact Vickery at 229-259-4870.