Meds reconciliation becomes simpler

NPSG revised to focus on key risks

Revisions to The Joint Commission's National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) on reconciling medication information will provide some relief for hospice and home health providers when the changes become effective on July 1, 2011.

"We streamlined the goal's requirements and reduced the number of elements of performance from 17 to 5," explains Maureen Carr, MBA, project director in the Department of Standards and Surveys for The Joint Commission. This move did not weaken the patient safety goal, Carr points out. "We focused on the key risk points for hospice and home care and made the requirements less prescriptive," she says. This change enables the hospice to implement processes that are most appropriate for the agency and its patients, Carr adds.

The only new requirement included in the elements of performance (EPs) for the medication reconciliation goal is the hospice's responsibility to explain the importance of managing medication information to the patient, she says. Because many hospices already include this information in their teaching, it is not an onerous addition to the requirement, Carr adds.

The revisions were made as a result of input from providers and surveyors that the NPSG's requirements were too prescriptive and required too much documentation for non-24 hour care settings, she says. "We did use input from home health and hospice focus groups to finalize the revisions," Carr says.

There are no new NPSGs for 2011, but there are some goals in development for 2012, adds Carr.

To see a copy of the EPs for the medication reconciliation NPSG, go to www.jointcommission.org. Select "standards" from top navigational bar, then choose "National Patient Safety Goals." Under "2011 NPSG Program Links," select "Home Care." Choose "Revised National Patient Safety Goal on Reconciling Medication Information" and select "Home Care Accreditation Program."