Reducing medication regimen complexity: a controlled trial.
OBJECTIVE: To determine if a visual intervention (medication grid) delivered to physicians can reduce medication regimen complexity. DESIGN: Nonrandomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Veterans Affairs medical center. PATIENTS/PARTICIPANTS: Eight hundred thirty-six patients taking at least 5 medications at the time of admission and the 48 teams of physicians and students on the general medicine inpatient service. INTERVENTION: For intervention patients, a medication grid was created that displayed all of the patients' medicines and the times of administration for 1 week. This grid was delivered to the admitting resident soon after admission. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: For the patients of each team of physicians, we calculated the change in the average number of medications and doses from admission to discharge. The number of medications in the intervention group decreased by 0.92 per patient, and increased by 1.65 in the control group (P <.001). The mean number of doses per day in the intervention group decreased by 2.47 per patient and increased by 3.83 in the control group (P <.001). CONCLUSIONS: This simple intervention had a significant impact on medication regimen complexity in this population. Apparently, physicians were able to address polypharmacy when the issue was brought to their attention.
Muir, AJ; Sanders, LL; Wilkinson, WE; Schmader, K
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