Ambulatory medication reconciliation: Using a collaborative approach to process improvement at an academic medical center

Caroline Keogh, Allen Kachalia, Karen Fiumara, Dorothy Goulart, Jonathan Coblyn, Sonali P. Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Incomplete medication reconciliation has been identified as a source of adverse drug events and a threat to patient safety. How best to measure and improve rates of medication reconciliation in ambulatory care remains unknown. Methods: An institutional collaborative improvement effort to develop and implement medication reconciliation processes was designed and facilitated across all 148 Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston) ambulatory specialty practices: 63 underwent a more rigorous approach, a modified approach was undertaken in another 71 specialty practices, and a less intensive approach took place in the 14 primary care practices. The level of intervention varied on the basis of preexisting improvement infrastructure and practice prescription rates. Two electronically measured metrics were created to evaluate ambulatory visits to a provider in which there was a medication change: (1) Measure 1: the percentage of active medications prescribed by that provider that were reconciled; and (2) Measure 2: how often all the medications prescribed by that provider were reconciled. After the collaborative was completed, performance data were routinely shared with frontline staff and hospital leadership, and medication reconciliation rates became part of an institutional financial incentive program. Results: For Measure 1, specialty practices improved from 71% to 90% (September 2012-August 2014; 24-month period). Primary care practice performance improved from 62% to 91% (December 2012-August 2014; 20-month period). For Measure 2, overall performance across all ambulatory practices increased from 81% to 90% during the first 12 months of the financial incentive program (October 2013-September 2014). Conclusion: A collaborative model of process improvement paired with financial incentives can successfully increase rates of ambulatory medication reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalJoint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management


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