Objective: To summarize the literature addressing clinical services provided by pharmacy students and the economic implications associated with those services.
Data sources: A literature search was performed through MEDLINE and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts from their inception through December 2011. Search terms included pharmacy students, doctor of pharmacy students, clinical interventions, documentations, and medication histories.
Study selection and data extraction: All research articles and abstracts published in English were included. Studies were excluded if they were not conducted in the US. Articles were reviewed and abstracted for number of interventions and proportion of total interventions performed by pharmacy students, type and duration of advanced practice experience, patient care location, time required for interventions, frequency of interventions that were accepted or implemented, and financial assessment of interventions when reported.
Data synthesis: A total of 29 fully published studies and 6 abstracts were identified. The majority of the studies evaluated the number of student recommendations made and the acceptance rate of those recommendations. On average, individual students made between 1.2 and 16 recommendations to prescribers per week. The acceptance rate ranged from 32% to 98%. In addition to recommendations, students performed intravenous to oral dose conversions and obtained medication histories. All of the studies that assessed the economic impact of student pharmacist involvement reported a cost savings or cost avoidance associated with having pharmacy students at the institution.
Conclusions: Pharmacy students provide many recommendations with high acceptance rates. During their pharmacy practice experiences, students generally confer economic and clinical benefits that may exceed the costs associated with their supervision and training.