Antibiotics are among the most commonly prescribed medications, but in determining the most appropriate prescription for a patient, doctors and pharmacists often rely on inaccurate records of the patient's antibiotic allergies.
Many records are incomplete, unclear, or incorrect. They may have originated with a patient's previous physician, or incompatible electronic medical record systems may have introduced errors. In turn, this may contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, higher health care costs and decreased patient safety.
This qualitative study by researchers in the Netherlands identifies problems with the antibiotic allergy reporting process that may point toward interventions for improving registration accuracy.
Based on focus group discussions, the researchers suggest that developing a training module and primary care guidelines regarding the registration process, cleaning up existing records, and fostering better communication, both human and electronic, as potential ways to improve antibiotic allergy registrations.
Clercq, K. D., et al. (2020) Inappropriate Antibiotic Allergy Documentation in Health Records: A Qualitative Study on Family Physicians’ and Pharmacists’ Experiences. Annals of Family Medicine. doi.org/10.1370/afm.2537.