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Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2014;35(4):395-408. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2014.907159. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

Combining quality improvement and geriatrics training: the nursing home polypharmacy outcomes project.

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  • 1a The John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatrics, Department of Geriatric Medicine, John A. Burns School of Medicine , University of Hawaii , Honolulu , Hawaii , USA.


To examine sustained effects of an educational intervention, the authors repeated a successful quality improvement (QI) project on medication safety and cost effectiveness. In October 2007 and August 2008, the facility leadership and geriatrics faculty identified all patients receiving nine or more medications (polypharmacy cohort) in a 170-bed teaching nursing home. They then taught Geriatric Medicine fellows (n = 12 in 2007, 11 in 2008) to (a) systematically collect medication data; (b) generate medication recommendations (stop, taper, or continue) based on expert criteria (Beers criteria) or drug-drug interaction programs; (c) discuss recommendations with patients' attending physicians; and (d) implement approved recommendations. Over the two projects, the polypharmacy cohorts demonstrated decreased potentially inappropriate medications (odds ratio [OR] = .78, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] [0.69, 0.88], p < .001), contraindicated medications (OR = .63, 95% CI [0.47, 0.85], p = .002) and medication costs (OR = .97, 95% CI [0.96, 0.99], p < .001). Findings suggest that programs planning educational QI projects for trainees may benefit from a multiyear approach to maximize clinical and educational benefits.


geriatric education; geriatric medicine fellowship; nursing homes; polypharmacy; quality improvement

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