Pharmacists on rounding teams reduce preventable adverse drug events in hospital general medicine units

Arch Intern Med. 2003 Sep 22;163(17):2014-8. doi: 10.1001/archinte.163.17.2014.


Background: Previous studies found that medication errors result from lack of sufficient information during the prescribing step. Therefore, it is proposed that having a pharmacist available when patients are evaluated during the rounding process may reduce the likelihood of preventable adverse drug events (ADEs). The objectives of this study were to evaluate the impact of having a pharmacist participate with a physician rounding team on preventable ADEs in general medicine units and to document pharmacist interventions made during the rounding process.

Methods: A single-blind, standard care-controlled study design was used to compare patients receiving care from a rounding team including a pharmacist with patients receiving standard care (no pharmacist on rounding team). Patients admitted to and discharged from the same general medicine unit were included in the study. The main outcome measure of this study was preventable ADEs. Patient records were randomly selected and evaluated by a blinded process involving independent senior pharmacist specialists and a senior staff physician. Interventions made by the pharmacists in the treatment group were documented.

Results: The rate of preventable ADEs was reduced by 78%, from 26.5 per 1000 hospital days to 5.7 per 1000 hospital days. There were 150 documented interventions recommended during the rounding process, 147 of which were accepted by the team. The most common interventions were (1) dosing-related changes and (2) recommendations to add a drug to therapy.

Conclusion: Pharmacist participation with the medical rounding team on a general medicine unit contributes to a significant reduction in preventable ADEs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Utilization Review
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Pharmacists*