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World Journal of Emergency Surgery



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Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

October 2019


Background: Medication errors account for the most common adverse events and a significant cause of mortality in the USA. The Joint Commission has required medication reconciliation since 2006. We aimed to survey the literature and determine the challenges and effectiveness of medication reconciliation in the trauma patient population.

Materials and methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature to determine the effectiveness of medication reconciliation in trauma patients. English language articles were retrieved from PubMed/Medline, CINAHL, and Cochrane Review databases with search terms “trauma OR injury, AND medication reconciliation OR med rec OR med rek, AND effectiveness OR errors OR intervention OR improvements.”

Results: The search resulted in 82 articles. After screening for relevance and duplicates, the 43 remaining were further reviewed, and only four articles, which presented results on medication reconciliation in 3041 trauma patients, were included. Two were retrospective and two were prospective. Two showed only 4% accuracy at time of admission with 48% of medication reconciliations having at least one medication discrepancy. There were major differences across the studies prohibiting comparative statistical analysis.

Conclusions: Trauma medication reconciliation is important because of the potential for adverse outcomes given the emergent nature of the illness. The few articles published at this time on medication reconciliation in trauma suggest poor accuracy. Numerous strategies have been implemented in general medicine to improve its accuracy, but these have not yet been studied in trauma. This topic is an important but unrecognized area of research in this field.


© The Author(s). 2019 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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