Talking to Patients
About Keeping Track of Medications
When patients are harmed by medical mistakes, studies show that the culprit often is
medication error. A free, new resource is available to help patients prevent medication
errors. The My Medicine List helps patients track their medications in an easy-to-use
form. The following talking points will help you talk to patients about why it’s important
to use this form:
One of the most common types of medical mistakes has to do with medication errors
– when patients take too many, too few, or the wrong pills. Medication errors can
lead to serious complications. The good news is that you can do something to
prevent medication errors.
It can be hard to remember, off the top of your head, everything you need to know
about the medications you take. To help, you should make a list of all your
medications. Then bring it with you every time you see a doctor or nurse.
My Medicine List is a free form that can help you do this. You can take copies from
us and you can print it out at www.mnpatientsafety.org/mymedicines.
Make sure you keep the list up to date – every time you start or stop taking a
medication, write the new drug name and date you started taking it. Or, cross out a
drug name when you no longer take it. Remember to include how often you take the
medicine and how much you take. This will save you time when you see your
Remember to record herbal remedies, over the counter medications such as allergy
pills, eye drops, antacids, laxatives, vitamin or mineral supplements—anything you
may be taking, even if only occasionally, such as an inhaler.
It’s a good idea to fold My Medicine List and carry it with you in your wallet. Show
it to your doctor, nurse, pharmacist or other health care provider every time you seek
care. If you are too sick in the hospital or emergency room to do it yourself, ask a
family member to show the list to your doctors and nurses.
Adapted from Institute for Healthcare Improvement medication reconciliation kit at www.ihi.org.