Effect of medication reconciliation interventions on outcomes: A systematic overview of systematic reviews

Laura J. Anderson*, Jeff L. Schnipper, Teryl K. Nuckols, Rita Shane, Michael M. Le, Karen Robbins, Joshua M. Pevnick, Carmel Hughes, Cynthia A. Jackevicius, Denis O'Mahony, Catherine Sarkisian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To evaluate and summarize published evidence from systematic reviews examining medication reconciliation. Methods: MEDLINE, the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects were searched for English-language systematic reviews published from January 2004 to March 2019. Reviewers independently extracted information and scored review quality using the Assessment of Multiple Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) tool. For reviews with AMSTAR scores above 7, Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology was applied to assess evidence quality, with evidence summarized and conclusions compared across reviews. Results: Eleven reviews met the inclusion criteria, 5 of which used meta-analytic pooling. Most systematic reviews included primary studies of comprehensive bundled interventions that featured medication reconciliation as a central component. Reviews largely focused on transitions into and out of hospital settings. Five reviews focused exclusively on pharmacist-led interventions. Of the 5 reviews that considered all types of medication discrepancies, 3 reviews found very low-quality evidence that interventions reduced medication discrepancies. Neither of the 2 reviews that examined clinically significant medication discrepancies found any intervention effect. Of the 5 reviews that examined healthcare utilization outcomes, only 1 found any intervention effect, and that finding was based on low-to very low-quality evidence. Four reviews considered clinical outcomes, but none found any intervention effect. Conclusion: An overview of systematic reviews of medication reconciliation interventions found 9 high-quality systematic reviews. A minority of those reviews' conclusions were consistent with medication reconciliation alone having a measurable impact, and such conclusions were almost all based on very low-quality evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2028-2040
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
Issue number24
Early online date02 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2019


  • intervention
  • medication errors
  • medication reconciliation
  • medication review
  • review
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy

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