Accuracy of reporting current medications by cancer patients presenting to an emergency center

Jessica P. Hwang, Holly M. Holmes, Michael A. Kallen, Joe Ensor, Jason Etchegaray, Rana Saab, Rebecca B. Arbuckle, Krista M. King, Carmen P. Escalante

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Due to high coexistence of comorbidity, cancer patients take many medications and are susceptible to negative consequences of polypharmacy. To avoid adverse events during care transitions, patients need to correctly communicate their medications. The emergency center (EC) presents opportunities to assess patients' knowledge of medications and reconcile medication profiles. Objective: The purpose was to evaluate the medication knowledge of cancer patients presenting to the EC and to identify factors associated with higher knowledge. Design and measurements: For the cross-sectional self-administered survey, 254 patients were enrolled and gave name, dose, frequency, route, and indication for medications. Responses were checked for accuracy against outpatient pharmacy dispensing records within or outside M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Demographic data was obtained from medical records. For each patient, we calculated a patient medication knowledge (PMK-overall) score indicating percentage of correct responses. Results: Median PMK-overall score was 80%. Patients who used a medication aid to fill out the survey were 6.5 times more likely to have a high level of medication knowledge, or PMK-overall score≥80%. Predictors of using a medication aid included lower education level, solid tumor, more than five medications, married, and using a medication list at home. Conclusions: Though our findings may not be generalizable to settings outside the EC, we found cancer patients to have high levels of medication knowledge. Future studies should validate the use of PMK scores to predict medication adherence and other outcomes. Patients should be encouraged to use a medication aid when presenting information to the health care system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1347-1354
Number of pages8
JournalSupportive Care in Cancer
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Cancer
  • Emergency medicine
  • Medication therapy management
  • Patient compliance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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