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Multiple Health Systems Means Problems for Some VA Patients

By smace@healthleadersmedia.com  
   December 07, 2016

Rates of potentially unsafe medication prescribing were found to be significantly higher among veterans with dementia using more than one health system.

Using more than one health system can have a negative effect on patient safety, according to a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Specifically, the study found that rates of potentially unsafe medication prescribing were significantly higher among veterans using more than one health provider.

Those rates were significantly higher among veterans with dementia using more than one health system compared to those using only the Department of Veterans Affairs providers.

According to the study, the average dementia patient has four co-morbid conditions and receives care from five different providers annually. Medication management is particularly challenging because the average patient takes five different drugs, and 16% of patients take nine or more.

Provision of highly coordinated care is fundamental to prescribing safety in dementia patients, the study suggests.

The research originated in the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion at the Veterans Affairs' Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Durham, NC.

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.


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