Background: In a part of Oslo, Norway, the community care services use multi-dose packed medicines for some of their clients. We wanted to investigate whether this improved quality as compared to manually dispensed medicines.
Material and methods: We included 20 patients who received multi-dose packaged medicines, and 33 patients in two other districts who received manually dispensed medicines, and recorded disagreements between what daily medicines the general practitioner had prescribed and those that were dispensed by the community care service or the multi-dose packager.
Results: The 53 patients received a total of 324 daily medicines. Disagreements were found in 23% of all daily medicines, involving 58% of patients. In addition, deficiencies in the information on medication were found in 6% of all daily doses. For patients who received multi-dose packaged medicines, disagreements were found in relation to 21 % of the drugs. For patients who received manually dispensed medicines, disagreements were found in 17% and 33% of the medicines lists in the two districts.
Interpretation: The disagreements found between the medication prescribed by doctors and what was dispensed were unacceptable regardless of dispensing method (manual or automatic). It is important to clarify who should be responsible for maintaining accurate records for patients who receive community care.