, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 3825-3831
Date: 18 Apr 2012

Mitigating Error Vulnerability at the Transition of Care through the Use of Health IT Applications

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Adverse drug events are largely considered to be errors in which the severity of effects could be lessened or even prevented through more effective medication reconciliation practices. Transitions of care, particularly at the time of discharge from the hospital, represent a time of heightened error vulnerability that contributes to medication discrepancy occurrences. The observed vulnerability can be attributed to communication and care continuity gaps across health care settings and can often lead to preventable errors. Health IT tools developed through research can identify factors which increase the risk of medication discrepancies. Additionally, the implementations of optimized clinical workflow processes to form effective transitions of care are approaches to decreasing medication discrepancies which may lead to adverse drug events. While federal policies and certifying organizations have implemented quality initiatives to increase focus on medication reconciliation practices in the hospital and primary care settings, the same practices must be implemented after a patient is discharged to their homes or another health care facility in order to mitigate error vulnerabilities that occur at the transition of care. This paper provides an overview of health IT system capabilities and their applications within and across health care delivery settings to facilitate care coordination to ensure continuity of care.