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Sentinel Event Alert, Issue 35: Using medication reconciliation to prevent errors

January 25, 2006

sea 35 med recMedication reconciliation is the process of comparing a patient's medication orders to all of the medications that the patient has been taking. This reconciliation is done to avoid medication errors such as omissions, duplications, dosing errors, or drug interactions. It should be done at every transition of care in which new medications are ordered or existing orders are rewritten. Transitions in care include changes in setting, service, practitioner or level of care. This process comprises five steps:  1) develop a list of current medications; 2) develop a list of medications to be prescribed; 3) compare the medications on the two lists; 4) make clinical decisions based on the comparison; and 5) communicate the new list to appropriate caregivers and to the patient.