Assessment of medication discrepancies with point prevalence measurement: how accurate are the medication lists for Swedish patients?

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Background: Medication discrepancies are common, potentially harmful and may result from poor medication information across medical records. Our aim was to describe current medication discrepancy rates, types and severity in hospital, primary and specialized outpatient care in Sweden, as well as comparing these with previous measurements. Methods: Participants visiting health care in Skåne in November 2020 were randomly selected to include 100 adult patients each in public and private primary health care centers, hospitals and outpatient care. Within 2 weeks after a health care visit or hospital admission, a pharmacist medication reconciliation was performed to identify any discrepancies. Two general practitioners assessed their potential to cause harm. Descriptive and comparative statistics were used. Results: In total, 405 patients (mean age 61.6 years, median 6.5 medications) were included in the analysis. The majority (72%) of the included patients had ≥1 medication list discrepancy. Total number of discrepancies was 1038 (average 2.6 per patient), with a significantly higher discrepancy rate (4.5) noted in specialized outpatient care (p < 0.001). Overall, unintentional addition (44%) or omission (39%) of drug were most frequent. Out of all discrepancies, 20.7% were rated to have moderate (18.2%) or high (2.5%) potential risk of harm. Cardiovascular, nervous system and antidiabetic medications were more often involved in potentially harmful discrepancies. When compared with previous measurements, the proportion of accurate medication lists significantly improved in primary care compared to 2018 (34% vs 20%, p = 0.0011), as well as a decrease in overall discrepancy rate (p = 0.0029). Conclusion: Medication discrepancies were in general abundant despite a recent health care visit, both in hospital care and primary care, with the highest number in specialized outpatient care. A considerable share was classified as potentially harmful thus implying a major threat to medication safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-193
Number of pages9
JournalDrugs and Therapy Perspectives
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social and Clinical Pharmacy


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