FORT LEE, Va. (May 29, 2014) -- What is Medication Reconciliation? It's is a process to prevent medication errors.

One might ask, how is this handled at Kenner Army Health Clinic?

Kenner has a process in place in which your health care provider reviews with patients the medications you have been prescribed. It also includes outside prescriptions, over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements an individual is currently taking along with your new medications.

The review is to make sure your new medications do not have unsafe interactions with your current medications. During the review, your health care provider may also decide which medication is best in maintaining your health.

The purpose behind Medication Reconciliation Month is to help beneficiaries become more informed and educated on their role in the medication reconciliation process.

It is important that both you and your healthcare provider are in complete understanding of all medications you are taking and that you leave that appointment with a completed list. Furthermore, it is important to keep that list with you to show to other health care providers so a comparison and assessment for any newly prescribed medications can be completed.

This is so important that The Joint Commission, a health care accreditation agency, added it as part of the National Patient Safety Goals in 2005.

The reviews can help prevent errors with medications. The commission expects health care providers to have a review process in which medication reconciliation is assessed to reduce medication errors. Part of managing medication includes working with others during changes in care both within and outside of the health care organization, making sure patients are educated on the safe use of medication and communication with other providers.

What is the patients' role in medication reconciliation? Keep a record of all medications (include creams, outside prescriptions, ointments, patches, medication devices), over-the-counter medications (pain, cold, allergy, upset stomach medications), herbal (ginseng, omega-3, glucosamine), and supplements (protein, fat burners, fiber, vitamin energy). Keep the medication list with you at all times to use during your doctor visits and trips to the pharmacy. Update the list as changes are made like discontinuing a precription or starting a new one. Make note of any specific directions for your medications such as take with or without food, how much or how often taking, and what time of day to take medications, etc. Read the label each time you take medication to ensure you are taking the right drug in the right way. When filling the prescription or getting a refill, check the patients name on the label to make sure it is correct and let the pharmacist know if there is a change in the color, size, taste or shape of your medication.

Kenner wants to ensure that your medication reconciliation process is completed to ensure safe care is provided to the patients the clinic serves. Medication cards are available at our pharmacy to assist you in this process. Questions about your medications can be answered by a pharmacist in our pharmacy department and for more in-depth questions and review we have a clinical pharmacist that can be seen by appointment. With your involvement in this process the health care team can improve the safe use of the medications you are taking.