Medication use provides an ideal opportunity for monitoring quality of care in the vulnerable elders. Because drugs are readily and unambiguously specified, and filled prescriptions and medication lists are increasingly computerized, automated screening is both practical and efficient. Furthermore, unlike many other health care interventions, the evidence base for medication use is often clearly defined, despite the continuing problem of under-representation of vulnerable elderly patients in clinical trials. Therefore, because medication use plays a central role in geriatric practice, taken together these characteristics of drug use make the systematic surveillance of the quality of drug use one of the most promising approaches to improving the care of this important population.
Originally published in: Annals of Internal Medicine, v. 135, no. 8, pt. 2, October 16, 2001, pp. 703-710.
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