WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — By notifying pharmacy staff about discontinued prescriptions, providers and staff at health systems may contribute to medication safety, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology Quality Summit, held virtually from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.

Steven Metz, Pharm.D., from Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, Utah, and colleagues assessed why pharmacy communication on canceled medications was not occurring and evaluated the best way to communicate those changes from the patient encounter to the pharmacy. Interventions included: clinical staff (registered nurses or pharmacists) personally contacting the pharmacy via telephone to alert them of the change; asking providers to document medication change details in the comments box of a prescription being sent to alert pharmacy staff about changes in medications; and using the CancelRX function in the electronic medical record (EMR).

The researchers found that during the 60-day CancelRX trial, the Intermountain Medical Center Advanced Heart Failure/Transplant team tracked a total of 558 discontinued medications. The team received 359 error messages (64 percent) and made 148 phone calls to pharmacies (average time per phone call: 2 minutes, 11 seconds). In total, 196 potential safety events were avoided using both phone calls and CancelRX during the trial.

“We recommend that systems review how their EMR interfaces with their local pharmacies to ensure that both new and discontinued prescriptions route properly and take steps accordingly to work within your own system EMR and local pharmacies to make this process one less area of potential error,” the authors write.

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