GAO Report Urges Best Practices for Medication Management during Care Transitions

November 21, 2012 | Risk Management News

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Identifying best practices for medication management during transitions of care could reduce the potential for adverse health effects for patients misusing or discontinuing psychiatric or pain medications, says a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report evaluating transitions of care for service members discharged from the military. Although the report addresses transitions of care between the Department of Defense (DOD) healthcare facilities treating service members and Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) healthcare services for veterans, the findings are applicable to civilian healthcare facilities managing patients’ medications during transitions of care. The report focused on management of psychiatric and pain medications because of the potential side effects, such as withdrawal symptoms from sudden discontinued use, if these medications are poorly managed. While DOD and VA did not have formal policies for transitioning medications, each program had some initiatives in place to help service members, the GAO report found.

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