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Assessing the impact of virtual medication history technicians on medication reconciliation discrepancies


Background To overcome resource limitations, Ascension hospitals have implemented a virtual pharmacy technician program to facilitate the completion of medication histories in select emergency departments. Objective This multicenter retrospective study aimed to assess the impact of taking a medication history virtually by pharmacy technicians on medication reconciliation accuracy in comparison to other clinicians. Setting Ascension Seton hospitals in Austin, Texas, United States. Method A retrospective chart review including patients above the age of 18, who were directly admitted from the emergency department between January 1, 2019 and August 31, 2019. Study investigators identified, quantified and categorized unintentional discrepancies by comparing medication histories to reconciled medication orders at admission. Descriptive analysis was applied to patient demographics. Mann–Whitney U and chi-square tests were applied to continuous and categorical outcomes, respectively. Main outcome measure The type and number of unintentional discrepancies at admission. Results In 208 patients, a total of 190 unintentional discrepancies were identified. The rate of unintentional discrepancies per medication was significantly lower for virtual pharmacy technicians than other clinicians (8.6% vs. 14.8% respectively, p < 0.0001). The most common type of unintentional discrepancies was omission in both groups. Length of stay, readmissions, and emergency department visits were similar in both groups. The rate of incomplete medication histories was significantly lower for virtual pharmacy technicians than other clinicians (6.7% vs. 62.5% respectively, p < 0.0001). Conclusion Implementing a virtual medication history technician program in the emergency department can revolutionize the medication history completion process and lower unintentional medication discrepancy rates.

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Data availability

The datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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The authors thank Eimeira Padilla and Mitchell Daley for their help in designing the statistical model of this study.


No funding was received for conducting this study.

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Correspondence to Arsany Gadallah.

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Gadallah, A., McGinnis, B., Nguyen, B. et al. Assessing the impact of virtual medication history technicians on medication reconciliation discrepancies. Int J Clin Pharm 43, 1404–1411 (2021).

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  • Medication discrepancies
  • Medication history
  • Medication reconciliation
  • Technicians
  • Telepharmacy