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Emergency Department Medication History Taking: Current Inefficiency and Potential for a Self-Administered Form

      Abstract

      Background

      Emergency Departments (EDs) struggle with obtaining accurate medication information from patients.

      Objective

      Our aim was to estimate the proportion of urban ED patients who are able to complete a self-administered medication form and record patient observations of the medication information process.

      Methods

      In this cross-sectional study, we consecutively sampled ED patients during various shifts between 8 am and 10 pm. We created a one-page medication questionnaire that included a list of 49 common medications, categorized by general indications. We asked patients to circle any medications they took and write the names of those not on the form in a dedicated area on the bottom of the page. After their visit, we asked patients to recall which providers had asked them about their medications.

      Results

      Research staff approached 354 patients; median age was 45 years (interquartile range 29–53 years). Two hundred and forty-nine (70%) completed a form, 61 (17%) were too ill, 19 (5%) could not read it, and 25 (7%) refused to participate. Excluding refusals, 249 of 329 (76%; 95% confidence interval 70–80%) were able to complete the form. Of 209 patients recalling their visit, 180 (86%) indicated that multiple providers took a history, including 103 in which every provider did so, and 9 (4%) indicated that no provider took a medication history.

      Conclusions

      The process of ED medication information transfer often involves redundant efforts by the health care team. More than 70% of patients presenting for Emergency care were able to complete a self-administered medication information form.

      Keywords

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