Objective: Nonprescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medications play a crucial role in a patient’s ability to make choices to manage his or her own health care. Often these nonprescription choices are unknown to health care practitioners and thus are often not included as part of patients’ health records. The exclusion of these therapies can pose risks to patient safety. There is a significant need to address the capture of OTC medication use in both the physician and pharmacy electronic health records (EHRs) and during the practitionerepatient medication history and reconciliation process.

Data sources: On October 26, 2016, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation hosted a forum for a select group of health care industry professionals to work on a series of recommendations to improve the documentation of OTC medication use by patients. This diverse group of more than a dozen stakeholders included community pharmacy leaders from multiple chain pharmacies, pharmacy system vendors, e-prescribing vendors, health information technology experts, and multiple industry representatives, including individuals from the public sector. This commentary is a summary of the insights and suggestions where the group was in general agreement.

Summary: Successful OTC medication EHR integration will require system-level buy-in across multiple layers of the health care industry to improve patient safety. Forum participants suggested incremental steps that could be taken by multiple stakeholders to lay the foundation for integration within an appropriate regulatory structure.

Conclusion: Based on the results of the stakeholder forum, an agreement formed around one approach that the group supported as feasible: the creation of a consistent and uniform identification method for OTC medications in cooperation with government regulatory authorities.

Document Type


Publication Date


Notes/Citation Information

To be published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, p. 1-5.

© 2018 The Author.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Funding Information

Funding for this project was provided by the NACDS Foundation.