Objective: To avoid negative effects of drug treatment and need for additional medical care, drug treatment must be individualised. Our research group has developed a model for clinical pharmacy which improves several aspects of the patient's drug treatment. This study describes the process behind these improvements, i.e. drug related problems identified by pharmacists within a clinical pharmacy service.
Setting: Three wards at a department of internal medicine.
Method: Pharmacists performed systematic interventions during the patient's hospital stay, aiming to identify, solve and prevent drug related problems in the elderly. Identified drug related problems were put forward to the health care team and discussed. Information on identified problems, and their outcomes was collected and analysed. A questionnaire was used to evaluate the health care personnel's attitudes towards the process.
Main outcome measure: The number of drug related problems identified by the clinical pharmacists, the proportion of problems discussed with the physicians, the proportion of problems adjusted by the physicians and whether pharmacists and physicians prioritised any subgroup of drug related problems when choosing which problems to address. Finally, we wanted to evaluate the health care personnel's attitudes towards the model.
Results: In total, 1,227 problem were identified in 190 patients. The pharmacists discussed 685 (55.8%) of the identified problems with the physicians who accepted 438 (63.9%) of the suggestions. There was no significant difference in which subgroup to put forward and which to adjust. There was a high response rate (84%) to the questionnaire, and the health care personnel estimated the benefits to be very high, both for the patients and for themselves.
Conclusion: The process for identifying, solving and preventing drug related problems was good and the different types of problems were considered equally important. The addition of a clinical pharmacy service was considered very useful. This suggests that the addition of our clinical pharmacy service to the hospital setting add skills of great importance.