By Susan Hoy

One of the most important tasks a hospital attempts to accomplish when you are treated in the Emergency Department or admitted as an inpatient is called ‘medication reconciliation.’ You as a patient are a very important part of helping your caregivers accomplish just that.21_Susan Hoy - Mountain Breeze August 2016

Medication reconciliation means that someone has looked at the medicines you were taking before your hospital stay, medicines you took during your stay, and medicines your doctors want you to take after your stay. The goal is to make sure that everything is correct and that there aren’t any conflicts.

Reviewing your current medication list helps prevent medication errors, such as overprescribing medication, prescribing medications that conflict with one another, prescribing medications you may be allergic to, or changes in the amounts or dosages you are to take.

As a patient, you should keep careful track of the types of medications you are the taking, the frequency of which you take them, and the dosages. You should also make careful notes about any allergies you may have to certain medications. When you visit your doctor or your hospital, you should present a copy of this list to the caregiver so that it can be placed in your file and your medical record.

A crucial part of your medication list is to include all substances you are ingesting for any condition or wellness initiative. It is important not to limit your personal medications list to just medications prescribed by a physician.  Remember to include products you can buy without a prescription, such as vitamins, dietary supplements, and even topical solutions used for skin, hair or muscle care.

It’s a good idea to have multiple copies of your medications list and, if possible, have a family member or friend be able to access the list if you are unable or incapacitated. While some may feel embarrassed or hesitant to disclose the number of medications they are taking or the amounts, it is vital that your caregivers be aware of all substances you are ingesting so that the best possible care can be given and errors can be prevented.

Locally, Rutherford Regional Health System (RRHS) has many strategies in place to ensure medication reconciliation is a top priority, In fact, The Joint Commission, which accredits RRHS, in 2011 named medication reconciliation among its top three National Patient Safety Goals to be followed by accredited institutions.

For information about Rutherford Regional Health System, visit us at

Susan Hoy is Director of Pharmacy, Rutherford Regional Health System.