Pharmacist Medication Review During Hospital Stay May Reduce Errors

American Society of Health-System Pharmacists examined a program in which hospital pharmacists were involved in discharging patients. According to the study, the percentage of patients discharged with a hospital medication mistake was reduced from 76% to 47% when pharmacists were involved in the process. The study also indicates that such pharmacist involvement reduces the average number of errors per patient from 2.5 to 1.8.

According to Medpage Today, the study was based on a program of medication reconciliation in which a pharmacist reviewed all medications that a patient was to continue after discharge. Any drug mistakes that were identified were brought to the prescribing doctor’s attention. Pharmacists also explained to patients how and when to take their medications and discussed the importance of following their drug treatments.

Errors in which patients were discharged with the wrong kind of medication like a nebulizer treatment instead of an inhaler, were reduced from 33 to 11. Patients were less likely to receive wrong medicine instructions. With pharmacist involvement, these errors dropped from 83 to 38. Duplication mistakes where patients were prescribed two forms of what is essentially the same medication were reduced from 18 to 1.

But other data showed no difference in the number of hospital drug errors before and after the pharmacist involvement program was implemented. Approximately the same number of patients were discharged either missing a medication they should still be taking or taking a medication that was no longer necessary. This shows that no program is perfect. Hospitals and providers must continue to work to reduce the risk of a medication error to protect their patients.


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