Safety and Quality > Our Work > Medication Safety > Medication reconciliation

Medication reconciliation means that the medicines the patient should be prescribed match those that are prescribed.

When a patient’s care is transferred to another clinician, a current and accurate list of medicines, including reasons for change, is given to that clinician. Some transition points are more prone to error and require special attention, such as:

  • Admission to hospital
  • Transfer from the emergency department to other care areas (wards, intensive care, home)
  • Transfer from the intensive care unit to the ward
  • From the hospital to home, aged care home or another hospital.

Unintentional changes to patients’ medicine regimens often happen during hospital admissions, and can cause patient harm during a hospital stay or after discharge:

  • Between 10% and 67% of medication histories have at least one error, and up to 33% of these errors have the potential to cause patient harm
  • More than 50% of medication errors occur at transitions of care
  • Patients with one or more medicines missing from their discharge information are 2.3 times more likely to be readmitted to hospital than those with correct information on discharge
  • 85% of discrepancies in medication treatment originate from poor medication history taking.

Matching up medicines can help ensure continuity of care, and prevent harm by reducing the opportunity for medication errors.

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