Use of Patients' Own Medications in Canadian Hospitals: Results of a national survey

Heather Lummis, Ingrid Sketris
Research Summary: 

Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and nature of POM use and the development and implementation of hospital policies on POM.

Research Approach/Method
The authors surveyed 166 Canadian hospitals to analyze POM use and related policies.

Key Overarching Message
Results suggest that POM use in Canadian hospitals is common and is sometimes encouraged to save costs, to decrease inventory costs, and to reduce delays in therapy. However, POM use may have disadvantages, such as potential medication errors, time consumed, and loss of POMs.

Key Findings
In the 86 hospitals that responded, 89% allowed the use of POM only when necessary, in 8% it was actively encouraged and in 2% it was not allowed. Most hospitals had an approved POM policy (72%), and 70% required a physicianís order to use POMs. While benefits included cost savings (67%) and decreased inventory (57%), the top concern with the use of POMs was the potential for medication errors (51%).