November 2010 Press Releases

ASHP Endorses Best Practices for Medication Reconciliation White Paper Published as Follow Up to Stakeholders Meeting


The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently endorsed a white paper that identifies best practices for medication reconciliation. The white paper, Making Inpatient Medication Reconciliation Patient Centered, Clinically Relevant and Implementable: A Consensus Statement on Key Principles and Necessary First Steps, was published by the Society of Hospital Medicine as a follow up to a 2009 conference ASHP collaborated on with twenty stakeholder organizations to help eliminate barriers to implementing medication reconciliation.

Medication reconciliation is the process in which health care providers review a patient’s medication regimen at transitions in care (such as admission or discharge from a hospital and transfers to long-term care or home care) in an effort to avoid inconsistencies, adverse affects, and duplicative or unnecessary medications.

Numerous studies have shown that medication reconciliation is effective in preventing medication errors by ensuring that patients always have a current, accurate medication list. Because medication reconciliation requires a coordinated process that seamlessly bridges the continuum of care with effective handoffs, many health care organizations continue to struggle with implementation. As a result of these difficulties, The Joint Commission temporarily suspended factoring survey findings for medication reconciliation into accreditation decisions as of 2009.

The white paper provides practical advice to hospitals and health-systems for implementing system-wide medication reconciliation procedures. The ASHP Board of Directors voted to endorse the paper in October 2010. Bona E. Benjamin, B.S. Pharm. ASHP Director of Medication-Use Quality Improvement, and Cynthia L. LaCivita, Pharm.D., formerly of ASHP and the ASHP Foundation, were co-authors. The paper is slated for publication in the Journal of Hospital Medicine and the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety and is available on ASHP's website.

ASHP is committed to improving patient safety," said ASHP President Diane B. Ginsburg, M.S., R.Ph, FASHP. "Successful implementation of medication reconciliation requires a concerted interdisciplinary effort in order to prevent medication errors at transition points in patient care. We applaud the effort of this group and its emphasis on a team-based approach."

About ASHP

For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 35,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site,, or its consumer Web site,