Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Conducting a Medication History Interview

From an Article By  Poojee Sudhapalli

A medication history is a record of all medicines being taken at time of hospital admission/presentation, previous adverse drug events (ADEs) and allergies,recently ceased or changed medicines.It is a record of all medications a consumer is taking at the time of hospital admission or presentation.

A medication history interview precedes all other activities in a hospital setting which helps the pharmacist to decide on the level of pharmaceutical care needed for an individual patient. Recording accurate medication history at the time of admission is an important part of the medication management as it helps physicians to start with most appropriate pharmacotherapy for individual patient which includes rational use of drugs and omission of offending drug/s) if any. The inability to accurately identify medications taken at home and allergy information may result in considerable time and effort wasted and medication errors? Thus recording the patient‘s medication history accurately becomes important for the initial medication management.

The Clinical Pharmacist performs a medication history interview in a very structured manner, using a series of open and closed ended questions. while building a rapport with the patient. The history is systematically and simultaneously recorded in a validated medication history interview form. Obtaining a medication history has the following goals:-

  • Documenting a complete history of prescription and non-prescription medications used by a patient prior to hospital admission
  • Screening for drug related problems or ADEs experienced by the patient
  • Screening for potential drug interactions
  • Assessment of patient medication concordance / compliance
  • Assessing patient's understanding of the medications

The recent years have seen a change in role of the pharmacist. The focus of their service and research is seen to have shifted from being purely laboratory oriented to a more patient care oriented approach. According to the American Society for Health System Pharmacists, in 75 % of the hospitals, the Pharmacist is involved in managing the acquisition of medication history, upon a patient’s admission into the hospital, for patients with complex and high risk medication regimens. The absolute lack of this service in the Indian setting is an important issue that needs to be addressed in order to develop clinical pharmacy services in the country.


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