To determine whether a pharmacist can effectively review repeat prescriptions through consultations with elderly patients in general practice.
Randomised controlled trial of clinical medication review by a pharmacist against normal general practice review.
Four general practices.
1188 patients aged 65 or over who were receiving at least one repeat prescription and living in the community.
Patients were invited to a consultation at which the pharmacist reviewed their medical conditions and current treatment.
Main outcome measures
Number of changes to repeat prescriptions over one year, drug costs, and use of healthcare services.
590 (97%) patients in the intervention group were reviewed compared with 233 (44%) in the control group. Patients seen by the pharmacist were more likely to have changes made to their repeat prescriptions (mean number of changes per patient 2.2 v 1.9; difference=0.31, 95% confidence interval 0.06 to 0.57; P=0.02). Monthly drug costs rose in both groups over the year, but the rise was less in the intervention group (mean difference £4.72 per 28 days, −£7.04 to −£2.41); equivalent to £61 per patient a year. Intervention patients had a smaller rise in the number of drugs prescribed (0.2 v 0.4; mean difference −0.2, −0.4 to −0.1). There was no evidence that review of treatment by the pharmacist affected practice consultation rates, outpatient consultations, hospital admissions, or death rate.
A clinical pharmacist can conduct effective consultations with elderly patients in general practice to review their drugs. Such review results in significant changes in patients' drugs and saves more than the cost of the intervention without affecting the workload of general practitioners.
What is already known on this topicReview of patients on long term drug treatment is important but is done inadequatelyEvidence from the United States shows that pharmacists can improve patient care by reviewing drug treatmentWhat this study addsConsultations with a clinical pharmacist are an effective method of reviewing the drug treatment of older patientsReview by a pharmacist results in more drug changes and lower prescribing costs than normal care plus a much higher review rateUse of healthcare services by patients is not increased
To design and implement an interactive education program to improve the skill and confidence of community pharmacists in providing pharmaceutical services to people with mental illnesses.
A literature review was conducted and key stakeholders were consulted to design a partnership that involved community pharmacists and consumer educators. The partnership was designed so that all participants shared equal status. This facilitated mutual recognition of each others' skills.
Four 2-hour training sessions were conducted over a 2-week period in March 2005. Seven pharmacists, 5 consumer educators, and 1 caregiver educator participated in the partnership. Pharmacists indicated that their participation caused them to reflect on their own medication counseling techniques. Consumer educators reported that speaking about their experiences aided their recovery.
Developing a better understanding and improved communication between community pharmacists and people with mental illnesses is an important aspect of facilitating a concordant approach to patient counseling. Implementing mental health education programs utilizing consumer educators in pharmacy schools is a promising area for further research.
continuing education; patient counseling; community pharmacy; mental health care
Older people are prone to problems related to use of medicines. As they tend to use many different medicines, monitoring pharmacotherapy for older people in primary care is important.
To determine which procedure for treatment reviews (case conferences versus written feedback) results in more medication changes, measured at different moments in time. To determine the costs and savings related to such an intervention.
Design of study
Randomised, controlled trial, randomisation at the level of the community pharmacy.
Primary care; treatment reviews were performed by 28 pharmacists and 77 GPs concerning 738 older people (≥75 years) on polypharmacy (>five medicines).
In one group, pharmacists and GPs performed case conferences on prescription-related problems; in the other group, pharmacists provided results of a treatment review to GPs as written feedback. Number of medication changes was counted following clinically-relevant recommendations. Costs and savings associated with the intervention at various times were calculated.
In the case-conference group significantly more medication changes were initiated (42 versus 22, P = 0.02). This difference was also present 6 months after treatment reviews (36 versus 19, P = 0.02). Nine months after treatment reviews, the difference was no longer significant (33 versus 19, P = 0.07). Additional costs in the case-conference group seem to be covered by the slightly greater savings in this group.
Performing treatment reviews with case conferences leads to greater uptake of clinically-relevant recommendations. Extra costs seem to be covered by related savings. The effect of the intervention declines over time, so performing treatment reviews for older people should be integrated in the routine collaboration between GPs and pharmacists.
geriatrics; pharmaceutical care; pharmacotherapy; therapeutics; prescriptions, drug
Interventions by the pharmacists have always been considered as a valuable input by the health care community in the patient care process by reducing the medication errors, rationalizing the therapy and reducing the cost of therapy. The primary objective of this study was to determine the number and types of medication errors intervened by the dispensing pharmacists at OPD pharmacy in the Khoula Hospital during 2009 retrospectively. The interventions filed by the pharmacists and assistant pharmacists in OPD pharmacy were collected. Then they were categorized and analyzed after a detailed review. The results show that 72.3% of the interventions were minor of which 40.5% were about change medication order. Comparatively more numbers of prescriptions were intervened in female patients than male patients. 98.2% of the interventions were accepted by the prescribers reflecting the awareness of the doctors about the importance of the pharmacy practice. In this study only 688 interventions were due to prescribing errors of which 40.5% interventions were done in changing the medication order of clarifying the medicine. 14.9% of the interventions were related to administrative issues, 8.7% of the interventions were related to selection of medications as well as errors due to ignorance of history of patients. 8.2% of the interventions were to address the overdose of medications. Moderately significant interventions were observed in 19.4% and 7.5% of them were having the impact on major medication errors. Pharmacists have intervened 20.8% of the prescriptions to prevent complications, 25.1% were to rationalize the treatment, 7.9% of them were to improve compliance. Based on the results we conclude that the role of pharmacist in improving the health care system is vital. We recommend more number of such research based studies to bring awareness among health care professionals, provide solution to the prescription and dispensing problems, as it can also improve the documentation system, emphasize the importance of it, reduce prescribing errors, and update the knowledge of pharmacists and other health care professionals.
Pharmacists intervention; Pharmaceutical care; Out-patient pharmacy; Prescriptions
Expanded pharmacist prescribing is a new professional practice area for pharmacists. Currently, Australian pharmacists’ prescribing role is limited to over-the-counter medications. This review aims to identify Australian studies involving the area of expanded pharmacist prescribing. Australian studies exploring the issues of pharmacist prescribing were identified and considered in the context of its implementation internationally. Australian studies have mainly focused on the attitudes of community and hospital pharmacists towards such an expansion. Studies evaluating the views of Australian consumers and pharmacy clients were also considered. The available Australian literature indicated support from pharmacists and pharmacy clients for an expanded pharmacist prescribing role, with preference for doctors retaining a primary role in diagnosis. Australian pharmacists and pharmacy client’s views were also in agreement in terms of other key issues surrounding expanded pharmacist prescribing. These included the nature of an expanded prescribing model, the need for additional training for pharmacists and the potential for pharmacy clients gaining improved medication access, which could be achieved within an expanded role that pharmacists could provide. Current evidence from studies conducted in Australia provides valuable insight to relevant policymakers on the issue of pharmacist prescribing in order to move the agenda of pharmacist prescribing forwards.
Pharmacist prescribing; Australia; pharmacy clients; Australian pharmacy; non-medical prescribing
Objective Heart failure patients are regularly admitted to hospital and frequently use multiple medication. Besides intentional changes in pharmacotherapy, unintentional changes may occur during hospitalisation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a clinical pharmacist discharge service on medication discrepancies and prescription errors in patients with heart failure. Setting A general teaching hospital in Tilburg, the Netherlands. Method An open randomized intervention study was performed comparing an intervention group, with a control group receiving regular care by doctors and nurses. The clinical pharmacist discharge service consisted of review of discharge medication, communicating prescribing errors with the cardiologist, giving patients information, preparation of a written overview of the discharge medication and communication to both the community pharmacist and the general practitioner about this medication. Within 6 weeks after discharge all patients were routinely scheduled to visit the outpatient clinic and medication discrepancies were measured. Main outcome measure The primary endpoint was the frequency of prescription errors in the discharge medication and medication discrepancies after discharge combined. Results Forty-four patients were included in the control group and 41 in the intervention group. Sixty-eight percent of patients in the control group had at least one discrepancy or prescription error against 39% in the intervention group (RR 0.57 (95% CI 0.37–0.88)). The percentage of medications with a discrepancy or prescription error in the control group was 14.6% and in the intervention group it was 6.1% (RR 0.42 (95% CI 0.27–0.66)). Conclusion This clinical pharmacist discharge service significantly reduces the risk of discrepancies and prescription errors in medication of patients with heart failure in the 1st month after discharge.
Clinical pharmacist; Heart failure; Hospital discharge; Medication discrepancies; Medication reconciliation; Prescription errors; The Netherlands
Cancer drugs are high risk drugs and medication errors in their prescribing, preparation and administration have serious consequences, including death. The importance of a multidisciplinary approach and the benefits of pharmacists’ contribution to cancer treatment to minimise risk have been established. However, the impact of services provided by pharmacists to cancer patient care is poorly studied. This study explored the clinical interventions made by pharmacists in dispensing of chemotherapy doses, and evaluated pharmacists’ contribution to patient care.
Pharmacists at the Chemotherapy Preparation Unit at a tertiary cancer centre in London were shadowed by two research pharmacists during the clinical screening of chemotherapy prescriptions and release of prepared drugs. An expert panel of pharmacy staff rated the clinical significance of the recorded interventions.
Twenty-one pharmacists’ interventions were recorded during the screening or releasing of 130 prescriptions or drugs. “Drug and therapy” (38%), “clerical” (22%) and “dose, frequency and duration” (19%) related problems most often required an intervention, identifying areas in chemotherapy prescribing that need improvement. The proposed recommendations were implemented in 86% of the cases. Many recorded interventions (48%) were ranked to have had a “very significant” influence on patient care.
Clinical interventions made by pharmacists had a significant impact on patient care. The integration of pharmacists’ technical and clinical roles into dispensing of chemotherapy doses is required for providing high-quality cancer services.
pharmacy; cancer; chemotherapy; drug compounding; medication errors
There is ample evidence in the international literature for pharmacist involvement in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD) conditions in primary care. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have confirmed the significant clinical benefits of pharmacist interventions for a range of CVD conditions and risk factors. Evidence generated in research studies of Australian community pharmacist involvement in CVD prevention and management is summarised in this article.
Commonwealth funding through the Community Pharmacy Agreements has facilitated research to establish the feasibility and effectiveness of new models of primary care involving community pharmacists. Australian community pharmacists have been shown to effect positive clinical, humanistic and economic outcomes in patients with CVD conditions. Improvements in blood pressure, lipid levels, medication adherence and CVD risk have been demonstrated using different study designs. Satisfaction for GPs, pharmacists and consumers has also been reported. Perceived ‘turf‘ encroachment, expertise of the pharmacist, space, time and remuneration are challenges to the implementation of disease management services involving community pharmacists.
Cardiovascular; community pharmacy; outcomes; pharmacist; primary care
BACKGROUND: Traditional systems of managing repeat prescribing have been criticised for their lack of clinical and administrative controls. AIM: To compare a community pharmacist-managed repeat prescribing system with established methods of managing repeat prescribing. METHOD: A randomised controlled intervention study (19 general medical practices, 3074 patients, 62 community pharmacists). Patients on repeat medication were given sufficient three-monthly scripts, endorsed for monthly dispensing, to last until their next clinical review consultation with their general practitioner (GP). The scripts were stored by a pharmacist of the patient's choice. Each monthly dispensing was authorised by the pharmacist, using a standard protocol. The cost of the drugs prescribed and dispensed was calculated. Data on patient outcomes were obtained from pharmacist-generated patient records and GP notes. RESULTS: A total of 12.4% of patients had compliance problems, side-effects, adverse drug reactions, or drug interactions identified by the pharmacist. There were significantly more problems identified in total in the intervention group. The total number of consultations, deaths, and non-elective hospital admissions was the same in both groups. Sixty-six per cent of the study patients did not require their full quota of prescribed drugs, representing 18% of the total prescribed costs (estimated annual drug cost avoidance of 43 Pounds per patient). CONCLUSION: This system of managing repeat prescribing has been demonstrated to be logistically feasible, to identify clinical problems, and to make savings in the drugs bill.
The impact of continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) on drug removal is complicated; pharmacist dosing adjustment for these patients may be advantageous. This study aims to describe the development and implementation of pharmacist dosing adjustment for critically ill patients receiving CRRT and to examine the effectiveness of pharmacist interventions.
A comparative study was conducted in an intensive care unit (ICU) of a university-affiliated hospital. Patients receiving CRRT in the intervention group received specialized pharmacy dosing service from pharmacists, whereas patients in the no-intervention group received routine medical care without pharmacist involvement. The two phases were compared to evaluate the outcome of pharmacist dosing adjustment.
The pharmacist carried out 233 dosing adjustment recommendations for patients receiving CRRT, and 212 (90.98%) of the recommendations were well accepted by the physicians. Changes in CRRT-related variables (n=144, 61.81%) were the most common risk factors for dosing errors, whereas antibiotics (n=168, 72.10%) were the medications most commonly associated with dosing errors. Pharmacist dosing adjustment resulted in a US$2,345.98 ICU cost savings per critically ill patient receiving CRRT. Suspected adverse drug events in the intervention group were significantly lower than those in the preintervention group (35 in 27 patients versus [vs] 18 in eleven patients, P<0.001). However, there was no significant difference between length of ICU stay and mortality after pharmacist dosing adjustment, which was 8.93 days vs 7.68 days (P=0.26) and 30.10% vs 27.36% (P=0.39), respectively.
Pharmacist dosing adjustment for patients receiving CRRT was well accepted by physicians, and was related with lower adverse drug event rates and ICU cost savings. These results may support the development of strategies to include a pharmacist in the multidisciplinary ICU team.
pharmacist interventions; drug dosing adjustment; adverse drug event; cost saving; CRRT
Pharmacists, with expertise in optimizing drug therapy outcomes, are valuable components of the healthcare team and are becoming increasingly involved in public health efforts. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians in diverse community pharmacy settings can implement a variety of asthma interventions when they are brief, supported by appropriate tools, and integrated into the workflow. The Asthma Friendly Pharmacy (AFP) model addresses the challenges of providing patient-focused care in a community pharmacy setting by offering education to pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on asthma-related pharmaceutical care services, such as identifying or resolving medication-related problems; educating patients about asthma and medication-related concepts; improving communication and strengthening relationships between pharmacists, patients, and other healthcare providers; and establishing higher expectations for the pharmacist’s role in patient care and public health efforts. This article describes the feasibility of the model in an urban community pharmacy setting and documents the interventions and communication activities promoted through the AFP model.
Asthma; Community pharmacy; Pharmacists; Pharmaceutical care; Collaboration; Communication
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether listings of current medications obtained from the office file of patients' attending physicians and the pharmacy record of patients' dispensing pharmacists corresponded to the actual use of medications in a group of non-institutionalized seniors residing in rural communities. DESIGN: In-home interviews followed by retrospective office chart and pharmacy database reviews. SETTING: Two rural communities in southern Alberta with populations of less than 7000 people. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-five patients aged 75 years or older residing in the study communities, eight family physicians, and four dispensing pharmacies. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Number of currently consumed prescription drugs, currently consumed over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, and stored or discontinued prescribed medications; knowledge of medications (prescribed, OTC, and stored) by family physicians and pharmacists; and number of prescribers or dispensing pharmacists. RESULTS: Patients took a mean of 56 prescribed medications, took a mean of 3.5 OTC medications, and had a mean of 2.0 stored or discontinued medications. Attending family physicians and primary dispensing pharmacists typically knew of only some of their patients' entire regimen of medications. CONCLUSIONS: Misinformation about medication consumption by seniors was common among health care providers. Undertaking routine medication reviews (with emphasis on OTC use), asking specific questions about actual consumption, encouraging use of one prescriber and one pharmacist, discouraging storage of discontinued medications and reducing use of medication samples should be of benefit.
Pharmacist intervention in improving patient adherence to antidepressants is coupled with better outcomes.
The aim of this investigation was to systematically examine the published literature to explore different types of pharmacist interventions used for enhancing patient adherence to antidepressant medications. Three specific questions guided the review: what is the impact of pharmacist interventions on adherence to antidepressant medication? What is the impact of pharmacist interventions on patient-reported outcomes and patient satisfactions? What are the types of interventions used by pharmacists to enhance patients’ adherence to antidepressants?
A systematic review of the literature was conducted during August–November 2010 using PubMed, BIOSIS Previews® Web of Science, ScienceDirect, the Cochrane Library, PsycINFO®, IngentaConnect™, Cambridge Journals Online, and Medscape databases. Key text words and medical subject headings included pharmacist intervention, medication intervention, depression, medication adherence, health-related quality of life, patient-reported outcomes, and antidepressants.
A total of 119 peer-reviewed papers were retrieved; 94 were excluded on the basis of abstract review and 13 after full-text analysis, resulting in twelve studies suitable for inclusion and intensive review. The most common intervention strategy that pharmacists utilized was a combination of patient education and drug monitoring. A cumulative patient adherence improvement in this review ranged from 15% to 27% attributed to utilization of different interventions and different combinations of interventions together with patient satisfaction with the treatment when depression improved.
This review suggests that pharmacist intervention is effective in the improvement of patient adherence to antidepressants. This may be a basis for more studies examining the effectiveness of innovative interventions by pharmacists to enhance patient adherence to antidepressant medications.
pharmacist interventions; adherence to medication; depression; antidepressants; systematic review
To explore the potential for community pharmacist prescribing in terms of
usefulness, pharmacists’ confidence, and appropriateness, in the context of
Twenty community pharmacists were recruited using convenience sampling from a
group of trained practitioners who had already delivered asthma services.
These pharmacists were asked to complete a scenario-based questionnaire (9
scenarios) modelled on information from real patients. Pharmacist
interventions were independently reviewed and rated on their appropriateness
according to the Respiratory Therapeutic Guidelines (TG) by three expert
In seven of nine scenarios (78%), the most common prescribing intervention
made by pharmacists agreed with TG recommendations. Although the prescribing
intervention was appropriate in the majority of cases, the execution of such
interventions was not in line with guidelines (i.e. dosage or frequency) in
the majority of scenarios. Due to this, only 47% (76/162) of the
interventions overall were considered appropriate. However, pharmacists were
deemed to be often following common clinical practice for asthma
prescribing. Therefore 81% (132/162) of prescribing interventions were
consistent with clinical practice, which is often not guideline driven,
indicating a need for specific training in prescribing according to
guidelines. Pharmacists reported that they were confident in making
prescribing interventions and that this would be very useful in their
management of the patients in the scenarios.
Community pharmacists may be able to prescribe asthma medications
appropriately to help achieve good outcomes for their patients. However,
further training in the guidelines for prescribing are required if
pharmacists are to support asthma management in this way.
Asthma; Drug Prescriptions; Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Professional Role; Patient Simulation; Australia
Prevention of medication errors is a priority for health services worldwide. Pharmacists routinely screen prescriptions for potential problems, including prescribing errors. This study describes prescribing problems reported by community pharmacists and discusses them from an error prevention perspective.
For one month, nine community pharmacists documented prescribing problems, interventions made, and the proximal causes of the problems. The results were presented to local GPs and pharmacists at a meeting and feedback was invited.
For 32 403 items dispensed, pharmacists reported 196 prescribing problems (0.6%). The reporting rates ranged from 0.2%–1.9% between pharmacists and were inversely correlated to dispensing volume. Prescriptions containing incomplete or incorrect information accounted for two-thirds of the problems. Lack of information on the prescriptions and transcribing/typing errors were the most frequently cited proximal causes. A few pitfalls of computerized prescribing were observed.
Although rates of prescribing problems reported were relatively low, community pharmacists and patients remain important safeguards. This study identified potential causes of prescribing errors, and illustrated areas which could be improved in the design of computerized prescribing systems, and the communication and sharing of information between GPs and pharmacists.
prescribing errors; general practice; community pharmacy
Interventions made by pharmacists to resolve issues when filling a prescription ensure the quality, safety, and efficacy of medication therapy for patients. The purpose of this study was to provide a current estimate of the number and types of interventions performed by community pharmacists during processing of prescriptions. This baseline data will provide insight into the factors influencing current practice and areas where pharmacists can redefine and expand their role.
Patients and methods
A cross-sectional study of community pharmacist interventions was completed. Participants included third-year pharmacy students and their pharmacist preceptor as a data collection team. The team identified all interventions on prescriptions during the hours worked together over a 7-day consecutive period. Full ethics approval was obtained.
Nine student–pharmacist pairs submitted data from nine pharmacies in rural (n = 3) and urban (n = 6) centers. A total of 125 interventions were documented for 106 patients, with a mean intervention rate of 2.8%. The patients were 48% male, were mostly ≥18 years of age (94%), and 86% had either public or private insurance. Over three-quarters of the interventions (77%) were on new prescriptions. The top four types of problems requiring intervention were related to prescription insurance coverage (18%), drug product not available (16%), dosage too low (16%), and missing prescription information (15%). The prescriber was contacted for 69% of the interventions. Seventy-two percent of prescriptions were changed and by the end of the data collection period, 89% of the problems were resolved.
Community pharmacists are impacting the care of patients by identifying and resolving problems with prescriptions. Many of the issues identified in this study were related to correcting administrative or technical issues, potentially limiting the time pharmacists can spend on patient-focused activities.
pharmaceutical care; pharmacy; medications; Canada; prescriptions; drug-related problems
Sleep disorders are very common in the community and are estimated to affect up to 45% of the world’s population. Pharmacists are in a position to give advice and provide appropriate services to individuals who are unable to easily access medical care. The purpose of this study is to develop an intervention to improve the management of sleep disorders in the community. The aims are– (1) to evaluate the effectiveness of a community pharmacy-based intervention in managing sleep disorders, (2) to evaluate the role of actigraph as an objective measure in monitoring certain sleep disorders and (3) to evaluate the extended role of community pharmacists in managing sleep disorders. This intervention is developed to monitor individuals undergoing treatment and overcome the difficulties in validating self-reported feedback.
This is a community-based intervention, prospective, controlled trial, with one intervention group and one control group, comparing individuals receiving a structured intervention with those receiving usual care for sleep-related disorders at community pharmacies.
This study will demonstrate the utilisation and efficacy of community pharmacy-based intervention to manage sleep disorders in the community, and will assess the possibility of implementing this intervention into the community pharmacy workflow.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry: ACTRN12612000825853
Community pharmacy; Actigraphy; Sleep disorders
Methods used to deliver and test a pharmacy-based asthma care telephonic service for an underserved, rural patient population are described.
In a randomized controlled trial (RCT), the Patient And phaRmacist Telephonic Encounters (PARTE) project is assessing the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary impact of providing pharmacy-based asthma care service telephonically. The target audience is a low income patient population across a large geographic area served by a federally qualified community health center. Ninety-eight participants have been randomized to either standard care or the intervention group who received consultation and direct feedback from pharmacists via telephone regarding their asthma self-management and medication use. Pharmacists used a counseling framework that incorporates the Indian Health Services 3 Prime Questions and the RIM Technique (Recognition, Identification, and Management) for managing medication use problems. Pharmacists encouraged patients to be active partners in the decision-making process to identify and address the underlying cause of medication use problems. Uniquely, this trial collected process and summative data using qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pharmacists’ training, the fidelity and quality of pharmacists’ service delivery, and short term patient outcomes are being evaluated. This evaluation will improve our ability to address research challenges and intervention barriers, refine staff training, explore patient perspectives, and evaluate measures’ power to provide preliminary patient outcome findings.
A mixed method evaluation of a structured pharmacist intervention has the potential to offer insights regarding staff training, service fidelity and short term outcomes using quantitative and qualitative data in an RCT. Results will provide evidence regarding the feasibility and quality of carrying out the study and service delivery from the multiple perspectives of participants, clinicians, and researchers.
patient-pharmacist communication; asthma; telepharmacy
To understand the contribution of the Medicines Use Review consultation to counseling practice in community pharmacies.
Qualitative study involving ten weeks of observations in two community pharmacies and interviews with patients and pharmacy staff.
‘Traditional’ counseling on prescription medicines involved the unilateral transfer of information from pharmacist to patient. Over-the-counter discussions were initiated by patients and offered more scope for patient participation. The recently introduced MUR service offers new opportunities for pharmacists’ role development in counseling patients about their medicines use. However, the study findings revealed that MUR consultations were brief encounters dominated by closed questions, enabling quick and easy completion of the MUR form. Interactions resembled counseling when handing out prescription medicines. Patients rarely asked questions and indeterminate issues were often circumvented by the pharmacist when they did. MURs did little to increase patients’ knowledge and rarely affected medicine use, although some felt reassured about their medicines. Pragmatic constraints of workload and pharmacy organisation undermined pharmacists’ capacity to implement the MUR service effectively.
Pharmacists failed to fully realise the opportunity offered by MURs being constrained by situational pressures.
Pharmacist consultation skills need to be reviewed if MURs are to realise their intended aims.
Counseling; Medicines Use Reviews; Patient centred; Patient–pharmacist communication; Pharmacy practice
Increasingly, hospitals are implementing multi-faceted programs to improve medication reconciliation and transitions of care, often involving pharmacists.
To help delineate the optimal role of pharmacists in this context, this qualitative study assessed pharmacists’ views on their roles in hospital-based medication reconciliation and discharge counseling. We also provide pharmacists’ recommendations for improving care transitions.
Eleven study pharmacists at two hospitals who participated in the Pharmacist Intervention for Low Literacy in Cardiovascular Disease (PILL-CVD) study completed semi-structured one-on-one interviews, which were coded systematically in NVivo. Pharmacists provided their perspectives on admission and discharge medication reconciliation, in-hospital patient counseling, provision of simple medication adherence aids (e.g., pill box, illustrated daily medication schedule), and telephone follow-up.
Pharmacists considered medication reconciliation, though time-consuming, to be their most important role in improving care transitions, particularly through detection of errors in the admission medication history that required correction. They also identified patients with poor understanding of their medications, who required additional counseling. Providing adherence aids was felt to be highly valuable for patients with low health literacy, though less useful for patients with adequate health literacy. Pharmacists noted that having trained administrative staff conduct the initial post-discharge follow-up call to screen for issues and triage which patients needed pharmacist follow-up was helpful and an efficient use of resources. Pharmacists’ recommendations for improving care transitions included clear communication among team members, protected time for discharge counseling, patient and family engagement in discharge counseling, and provision of patient education materials.
Pharmacists are well-positioned to participate in hospital-based medication reconciliation, identify patients with poor medication understanding or adherence, and provide tailored patient counseling to improve transitions of care. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings in other settings, and to determine the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of different models of pharmacist involvement.
pharmacist; health literacy; care transitions; medication reconciliation; qualitative research
The role of community pharmacists in disease state management has been mooted for some years. Despite a number of trials of disease state management services, there is scant literature into the engagement of, and with, pharmacists in such trials. This paper reports pharmacists’ feedback as providers of a Pharmacy Asthma Management Service (PAMS), a trial coordinated across four academic research centres in Australia in 2009. We also propose recommendations for optimal involvement of pharmacists in academic research.
Feedback about the pharmacists’ experiences was sought via their participation in either a focus group or telephone interview (for those unable to attend their scheduled focus group) at one of three time points. A semi-structured interview guide focused discussion on the pharmacists’ training to provide the asthma service, their interactions with health professionals and patients as per the service protocol, and the future for this type of service. Focus groups were facilitated by two researchers, and the individual interviews were shared between three researchers, with data transcribed verbatim and analysed manually.
Of 93 pharmacists who provided the PAMS, 25 were involved in a focus group and seven via telephone interview. All pharmacists approached agreed to provide feedback. In general, the pharmacists engaged with both the service and research components, and embraced their roles as innovators in the trial of a new service. Some experienced challenges in the recruitment of patients into the service and the amount of research-related documentation, and collaborative patient-centred relationships with GPs require further attention. Specific service components, such as the spirometry, were well received by the pharmacists and their patients. Professional rewards included satisfaction from their enhanced practice, and pharmacists largely envisaged a future for the service.
The PAMS provided pharmacists an opportunity to become involved in an innovative service delivery model, supported by the researchers, yet trained and empowered to implement the clinical service throughout the trial period and beyond. The balance between support and independence appeared crucial in the pharmacists’ engagement with the trial. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, while useful suggestions were identified for future academic trials.
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback
An academic-community partnership between a Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) clinic and a school of pharmacy was created in 2005 to provide medication education and identify medication related problems. The urban community based HCH clinic in the Richmond, VA area provides primary health care to the homeless, uninsured and underinsured. The center also offers eye care, dental care, mental health and psychiatric care, substance abuse services, case management, laundry and shower facilities, and mail services at no charge to those in need. Pharmacist services are provided in the mental health and medical clinics. A satisfaction survey showed that the providers and staff (n = 13) in the clinic were very satisfied with the integration of pharmacist services. The quality and safety of medication use has improved as a result of the academic-community collaborative. Education and research initiatives have also resulted from the collaborative. This manuscript describes the implementation, outcomes and benefits of the partnership for both the HCH clinic and the school of pharmacy.
Academic-Community partnership; medication therapy management; community engagement; homelessness; medication related problems
There is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of Brief Intervention (BI) in reducing alcohol consumption in primary healthcare.
Methods and design
This study is a two-arm randomised controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of BI delivered by community pharmacists in their pharmacies. Eligible and consenting participants (aged 18 years or older) will be randomised in equal numbers to either a BI delivered by 17 community pharmacists or a non-intervention control condition. The intervention will be a brief motivational discussion to support a reduction in alcohol consumption and will take approximately 10 minutes to deliver. Participants randomised to the control arm will be given an alcohol information leaflet with no opportunity for discussion. Study pharmacists will be volunteers who respond to an invitation to participate, sent to all community pharmacists in the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. Participating pharmacists will receive 7 hours training on trial procedures and the delivery of BI. Pharmacy support staff will also receive training (4 hours) on how to approach and inform pharmacy customers about the study, with formal trial recruitment undertaken by the pharmacist in a consultation room. At three month follow up, alcohol consumption and related problems will be assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) administered by telephone.
The UK Department of Health’s stated aim is to involve community pharmacists in the delivery of BI to reduce alcohol harms. This will be the first RCT study to assess the effectiveness of BI delivered by community pharmacists. Given this policy context, it is pragmatic in design.
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN95216873
Alcohol; Brief intervention; Community pharmacist; Community pharmacy; Hazardous and harmful drinking
We investigated the benefits of the Collaborative Pharmaceutical Care in Tallaght Hospital (PACT) service versus standard ward-based clinical pharmacy in adult inpatients receiving acute medical care, particularly on prevalence of medication error and quality of prescribing.
Uncontrolled before-after study, undertaken in consecutive adult medical inpatients admitted and discharged alive, using at least three medications. Standard care involved clinical pharmacists being ward-based, contributing to medication history taking and prescription review, but not involved at discharge. The innovative PACT intervention involved clinical pharmacists being team-based, leading admission and discharge medication reconciliation and undertaking prescription review. Primary outcome measures were prevalence per patient of medication error and potentially severe error. Secondary measures included quality of prescribing using the Medication Appropriateness Index (MAI) in patients aged ≥65 years.
Some 233 patients (112 PACT, 121 standard) were included. PACT decreased the prevalence of any medication error at discharge (adjusted OR 0.07 (95% CI 0.03 to 0.15)); number needed to treat (NNT) 3 (95% CI 2 to 3) and no PACT patient experienced a potentially severe error (NNT 20, 95% CI 10 to 142). In patients aged ≥65 years (n=108), PACT improved the MAI score from preadmission to discharge (Mann–Whitney U p<0.05; PACT median −1, IQR −3.75 to 0; standard care median +1, IQR −1 to +6).
PACT, a collaborative model of pharmaceutical care involving medication reconciliation and review, delivered by clinical pharmacists and physicians, at admission, during inpatient care and at discharge was protective against potentially severe medication errors in acute medical patients and improved the quality of prescribing in older patients.
Medication reconciliation; Medication safety; Pharmacists; Transitions in care; Teamwork
To compare the effect of individual educational visits versus group visits using academic detailing to discuss prescribing of highly anticholinergic antidepressants in elderly people.
Randomised controlled trial with three arms (individual visits, group visits, and a control arm).
190 general practitioners and 37 pharmacists organised in 21 peer review groups were studied using a database covering all prescriptions to people covered by national health insurance in the area (about 240 000).
All general practitioners and pharmacists in both intervention arms were offered two educational visits. For physicians in groups randomised to the individual visit arm, 43 of 70 general practitioners participated; in the group visit intervention arm, five of seven groups (41 of 52 general practitioners) participated.
Main outcome measures
Numbers of elderly people (⩾60 years) with new prescriptions of highly anticholinergic antidepressants and less anticholinergic antidepressants.
An intention to treat analysis found a 26% reduction in the rate of starting highly anticholinergic antidepressants in elderly people (95% confidence interval −4% to 48%) in the individual intervention arm and 45% (8% to 67%) in the group intervention arm. The use of less anticholinergic antidepressants increased by 40% (6% to 83%) in the individual intervention arm and 29% (−7% to 79%) in the group intervention arm.
Both the individual and the group visits decreased the use of highly anticholinergic antidepressants and increased the use of less anticholinergic antidepressant in elderly people. These approaches are practical means to improve prescribing by continuing medical education.