One of the strategies to promote patient safety in care transitions is medication reconciliation (MR), which is conducted by the pharmacist at the patient's discharge from hospital. However, there are divergences about this process and about the pharmacist's role in conducting such intervention.
To systematically review the literature that reports the MR process led by pharmacists at patient discharge and map the different methods, strategies and tools used in the process.
Relevant studies were searched in the following databases: EMBASE, MEDLINE (PubMed), The Cochrane Library, and LILACS. No language restriction or publication date was applied. The studies considered eligible were those involving and describing pharmacist-led MR processes at acute patient discharge from hospital, with an experimental, quasi-experimental, or observational design. The characteristics of the studies and the MR processes were identified and then a qualitative synthesis was performed.
Fifty studies were included. The majority of them were observational ones (82%), and the main outcome was medication discrepancies (42%). The studies were mostly conducted in university hospitals (70%) and in internal medicine wards (54%). Pharmacists were responsible mainly for gathering medication histories (72%), and identifying (96%) and solving (98%) pharmacotherapeutic problems. The main sources of information on pre-admission medications were patient/caregiver interviews (66%) and records from other care providers (40%). Only 30% of the studies described a patient discharge plan, and 14% shared information of the patient's pharmacotherapy with community pharmacists.
The concept of MR and the pharmacist-led activities in the process varied in the literature, as well as the pharmacotherapy assessment focus and the communication strategies towards patients and other care providers, showing that standardization of the process and concepts is necessary.