When I admit a patient, I ask them what they are taking. The nurse asks them what they are taking, and the pharmacist does, too. In the ED (happy, WhiteCoat?) we have a little section where we can mark their medications and enter new ones.
Then, when they go upstairs, I copy the medications from a computer onto an order sheet by hand with a ball point pen, making sure to press hard so it goes through the carbon paper. I then copy it again, still by hand, into a history and physical. Three lists and counting.
I then am supposed to copy it onto the daily progress note by hand with doses and frequencies every day even though we round with a pharmacist with a computer (who, you guessed it, has access to the computer list). I don't do this out of protest. Four lists, and counting.
When the patient gets transferred from the ICU to the floor, or from one floor unit to another, there is a transfer medication list that also gets copied onto a triplicate paper order sheet with a ball point pen, because there is no way to just, oh I dunno, transfer the list. So that's five and counting if there's a transfer.
Upon discharge, the nurse prints a form that has their before admission meds and their inpatient meds as well as a new place to write discharge meds, so we'll call that six. The nurse is then supposed to copy, by hand, that list onto another so-called 'RN discharge'. That's seven. I then dicatate, hopefully from one of these reliable lists, into a discharge summary that is on a different system and not automatically correlated with anything. We'll call that eight.
Eight medication lists for every hospital admission, seven if there's no discharge or transfer. If someone comes out of the ICU and then transfers at all it's up to nine. They all live in different spots. There is no automated updating except at that first step, when there's an EMR.
I know White Coat just posted about a place that uninstalled it's EMR because, admittedly, garbage in is garbage out. But what is garbage copied eight different times, with lists as long as 30? That's, hmmm, 240 chances for error. All in the name of reducing errors.
And we chide our patients for not knowing what medications they're on. We probably don't know, either.