Study objective: To determine if clinical pharmacists could affect economic resource use and humanistic outcomes in an ambulatory, high-risk population.
Design: Prospective, randomized, controlled study.
Setting: Nine Veterans Affairs medical centers.
Patients: Patients who were at high risk for medication-related problems.
Intervention: Patients were randomized to usual medical care with input from a clinical pharmacist (intervention group) or just usual medical care (control group).
Measurements and main results: Of 1,054 patients enrolled, 523 were randomized to the intervention group and 531 to the control group. The number of clinic visits increased in the intervention group (p=0.003), but there was no difference in clinic costs. Mean increases in total health care costs were $1,020 for the intervention group and $1,313 for the control group (p=0.06).
Conclusion: Including the cost of pharmacist interventions, overall health care expenditures were similar for patients randomized to see a clinical pharmacist versus usual medical care.