How integrating medication data into EHRs benefits patients, providers

Chris Nerney
Chris Nerney, Contributing Writer |
How integrating medication data into EHRs benefits patients, providers

The entire point of healthcare interoperability is to give providers the medical information they need, when they need it, to treat patients.
That information, however, isn’t always readily available. For example, providers often struggle to compile an accurate picture of a patient’s medication history and are forced to rely on patients, patient families, and pharmacies. The first two aren’t always reliably accurate, while the latter requires effort to obtain the needed prescription information.
A medical center in Mississippi overcame this information barrier by integrating digital medication history data into its electronic health records (EHR) system.
As Healthcare IT News Managing Editor Bill Siwicki writes, King's Daughters Medical Center in Brookhaven was struggling “to provide an accurate, verifiable home medication record for its providers to trust as they made important decisions about existing medications both during an inpatient visit and after discharge.”
So the facility implemented medication management data software that pushes verified information to providers. This prescription data is used to create a fuller, more accurate picture of a patient’s current and past medications. King’s Daughters emergency department nurse Joe Farr tells Siwicki the pushed prescription data is meant to augment, and not replace, information gathered from patient and family interviews.
The medication management system is seamlessly integrated with the medical center’s EHR. “The typical user is not even aware of the work in the background and it feels like native EHR functionality," Farr says.   
In addition to giving providers accurate information, medication management software is helping King’s Daughters outperform reporting requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For “medication reconciliation,” the medical center scored 77 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, well above the 50 percent goal, while it shattered its e-prescription goal of 10 percent with a score of 52 percent.