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80% of CMIOs Say Medication Management Boosts Patient Safety

Most health IT leaders think medication management initiatives have improved patient safety, but there are still significant issues to overcome.

Eighty percent of CMIOs say medication management boosts patient safety

Source: Thinkstock

By Jessica Kent

- More than 80 percent of CMIOs believe medication management initiatives are actively helping to reduce the number of adverse drug events that can threaten patient safety, according to a recent survey from the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS).

However, these executives also believe that the healthcare industry still has significant work to do in order to create comprehensive medication adherence and management programs that positively impact patient care.

While over 80 percent of leaders believe medication management processes have positively impacted patient safety, the survey found that only half of physician IT leaders reported that they are satisfied with the medication management process, and 12 percent indicated dissatisfaction.

The survey found that 71 percent of surveyed health IT leaders are concerned about the lack of price transparency around medications, which could lead patients to experience financial challenges when trying to remain adherent to their regimens.

Rising drug costs are a critical issue in healthcare. A separate 2017 report from Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs showed that 25 percent of patients are paying more for medications than ever before, and 14 percent can’t fill prescriptions due to high costs, resulting in lackluster medication adherence and poorer health outcomes.

CMIOs in the AMDIS survey also reported significant patient safety gaps associated with the opioid epidemic.

Sixty-five percent of participants said clinicians need an integrated workflow that allows them to easily coordinate the entire medication management process, including e-prescribing controlled substances like opioids.

Forty-one percent of CMIOs are also concerned that providers may not be able to prevent opioid abuse, since they believe it can be difficult to distinguish “drug shoppers” from patients in genuine need of opioids.

Additionally, these participants cited the need for clinicians to have access to state Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) to understand patients’ opioid histories, and electronic access to prescriptions from other providers to avoid harmful drug combinations.

Eighty percent of CMIOs cited incomplete patient medication histories as the most significant gap in the medication management process, and 75 percent said misaligned medication reconciliation is a prominent issue.

Survey participants also see insufficient patient engagement as a key barrier to medication management. Eighty-five percent said that a lack of patient participation is the reason for incomplete patient medication histories.

Although medication management has positively influenced patient safety, the survey results show that there are still many issues that pose significant risks to patients’ wellbeing.

“While the industry has clearly made significant strides to improve medication management processes, CMIOs remain troubled by a number of gaps that compromise patient safety and quality outcomes,” said G. Cameron Deemer, president of DrFirst, which sponsored the survey.

“By leveraging data and medication management technologies, including those that provide easy PDMP access and price transparency at the point of prescribing, care teams are better positioned to drive safer, more effective care—and increase medication adherence for patients across the country.”

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