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How many, how much and how often: why medication reconciliation is important for our patients

Toronto, December 8, 2015

Melissa Benoit, a patient with Cystic Fibrosis
Melissa Benoit, a patient with Cystic Fibrosis, shows a list of all the medications she takes.

Some of our patients take multiple medications. Patients such as Melissa and Joyce.

It can be challenging to keep track of these medications. Patients may forget the names, dosage and frequency, or may not be in a position to share the full list because they cannot speak for themselves. Providers may not have the complete list either, and must track that information down by checking with multiple sources, including other clinicians, pharmacies and caregivers.

Medication reconciliation is a process that allows providers to create the most accurate list of all medications a patient is taking. Health-care providers work with patients, families and caregivers to ensure the most accurate and comprehensive medication information is communicated consistently across transitions of care – when a patient is admitted, discharged, transferred between units, or attends an appointment with their family doctor.

It’s a complex process that involves checking with many sources.

Hearing patients such as Melissa and Joyce, we are reminded of just how important medication reconciliation is at hospitals like St. Michael’s. It’s our job to keep you, our patients, safe. Our goal is to enhance our medication reconciliation process so that we have the most accurate, up-to-date information on the medications you are taking.

The work is part of St. Michael’s annual Quality Improvement Plan. Get a quick overview of the plan and our quality priorities for 2015-16. Learn more about our work to continually improve quality of care at St. Michael’s at www.stmichaelshospital.com/quality.

Quality at St. Michaels: Medication Reconciliation
It’s our job to ensure we know as much as possible about the medications our patients are taking – how many, how much and how often. Learn how St. Michael’s is improving the process that best tracks this information. If you would like to access this video in a different language, please visit our YouTube page.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.