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CMAJ Open. 2015 Jan 13;3(1):E103-10. doi: 10.9778/cmajo.20140010. eCollection 2015 Jan-Mar.

The effect of pharmacist-led medication review in high-risk patients in the emergency department: an evaluation protocol.

Author information

1
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver, BC ; Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, BC.
2
School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC ; Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver BC.
3
Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, Vancouver, BC ; School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Adverse drug events are unintended and harmful events related to medication use. They are a leading cause of visits to the emergency department, unplanned admissions to hospital and death. Adverse drug events can be misdiagnosed in the emergency department, resulting in treatment delays. Our objective was to describe a process to evaluate the effect of pharmacist-led medication review in high-risk patients in the emergency department on the number of days these patients subsequently spent in hospital within 30 days of their index visit.

METHODS:

We describe the evaluation of a prospective multicentre quality improvement program. During the evaluation period, triage nurses will flag incoming patients to the emergency department at high risk for adverse drug events by applying a clinical decision rule consisting of 4 variables (comorbid conditions, antibiotic use within 7 days, medication changes within 28 days and age). Consecutive eligible patients will be enrolled in the study and systematically allocated to either a pharmacist-led medication review group or a control group. In the intervention group, pharmacists will collect best-possible medication histories, review the patient's medications for appropriateness and adverse drug events, and communicate the results of their medication review to patients, caregivers and physicians. In the control group, nurses will start medication reconciliation by collecting best-possible medication histories, and physicians will refer patients to onsite pharmacists for specific medication management questions as needed. Health outcomes will be assessed using anonymized data linkage to administrative health databases. The primary outcome will be the percent days spent in hospital over a 30-day period.

INTERPRETATION:

This protocol describes the methods for evaluating the effect of pharmacist-led medication review in high-risk patients in the emergency department on use of health services, and highlights the methodological challenges that will be encountered. We plan to disseminate the results of this evaluation through articles published in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at scientific meetings and briefing notes to institutional, provincial and national stakeholders.

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