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Provider and Patient Perceptions of an External Medication History Function

Wolver, Susan E., MD, FACP*; Stultz, Jeremy S, PharmD; Aggarwal, Arpita, MD, MSc*; Thacker, Leroy, MS, PhD; Banas, Colin, MD, MSHA*

doi: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000197
Original Articles

Objectives To determine the awareness and use of an external medication history (EMH) function within an electronic health record and its impact on patient perception of medication adherence.

Methods Two self-administered surveys were given: one to providers and one to patients. Participants included providers from an academic medical center and patients from 2 general internal medicine clinics.

Results Of 154 completed provider surveys, 61% were aware the EMH existed. More of the respondents aware of the EMH were primary care and medicine subspecialty providers (79.1%) when compared with surgical providers (20.9%, P < 0.0001). The most common reasons chosen for looking at the EMH included checking for medication adherence (44%), questions about a specific medication (40%), and checking controlled substance prescription history (37%). Of those aware of the EMH, 65% found medications on the EMH that they were not aware their patient was getting filled. Of the 94 patient surveys, 34% felt the EMH feature might change their medication taking behavior, and 48% responded that it already had. Patients with a history of depression and/or anxiety were less likely to report the intent to change their medication taking behavior, OR, 0.34 [95% CI, 0.13-0.87].

Conclusion An external medication history function can provide further insight about a patient’s medication profile and prescription filling. Knowledge attained from the EMH may improve patient safety by helping to uncover nonadherence, dosing discrepancies, and medications prescribed by other providers. Additionally, patient knowledge of this feature might improve medication adherence. Although further studies are needed to obtain objective data, the external medication history function may have significant impact on both providers and patients, and its benefit should be widely publicized.

From the *Virginia Commonwealth University Health System,

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy, and

Departments of Family and Community Health Nursing and Biostatistics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

Correspondence: Susan E. Wolver, MD, FACP, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Division of General Internal Medicine, PO Box 980102, Richmond, VA 23298-0102 (e-mail:

The authors disclose no conflict of interest.

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