Objective: To determine the compliance rate in filling outpatient medication prescriptions written upon discharge from the emergency department (ED).
Methods: Emergency department records of children during a 3-month period were examined along with pharmacy claim data obtained in cooperation with the largest insurance carrier in the community (private and Medicaid). Pharmacy claim data were used to validate the prescription pick-up date.
Results: Overall, 65% of high-urgency prescriptions were filled. The prescription pick-up rate in the 0-to 3-year age group (75%) was significantly higher than in the rest of the cohort (55%) ( P < .001). Children with private insurance were more likely to fill their prescriptions (68%) compared to children with Medicaid insurance (57%) ( P = .03).
Conclusion: This study demonstrates that filling a prescription after discharge from an ED represents a substantial barrier to medication compliance.