More than a quarter of medical offices report that they are contacted by pharmacies on a daily or weekly basis to clarify or correct prescriptions, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

That safety issue – reported by 27% of outpatient medical offices – was the most common among those included in the Medical Office Survey on Patient Safety Culture from November 2013 to November 2015, the AHRQ said in its annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. Another 12% of respondents said that such contact with a pharmacy was a monthly occurrence.

Of the 1,385 medical offices participating in the survey, 15% reported that a patient with an acute problem was unable to get an appointment within 48 hours at least once a day or once a week, and 7% said that it happened once a month.

Information exchange problems with pharmacies occurred daily or weekly in 12% of offices and monthly in 8%, while the occurrence of medication lists not being updated at the last visit was 11% daily/weekly and 7% monthly. Additionally, 9% of offices reported that results from laboratory or imaging tests were not available when needed on a daily/weekly basis and 10% on a monthly basis, the AHRQ reported.

“Lack of access to care and lack of access to timely and accurate medical information and test results may contribute to patient safety events such as missed or delayed diagnoses, medication errors, failure to order appropriate diagnostic or laboratory tests, incorrect interpretation of tests, and inadequate follow-up on results,” the AHRQ said in the report.


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