GPs' and community pharmacists' opinions on medication management at transitions of care in Ireland

Fam Pract. 2016 Apr;33(2):172-8. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmw006.


Objective: The aim of this study was to survey GPs and community pharmacists (CPs) in Ireland regarding current practices of medication management, specifically medication reconciliation, communication between health care providers and medication errors as patients transition in care.

Methods: A national cross-sectional survey was distributed electronically to 2364 GPs, 311 GP Registrars and 2382 CPs. Multivariable associations comparing GPs to CPs were generated and content analysis of free text responses was undertaken.

Results: There was an overall response rate of 17.7% (897 respondents-554 GPs/Registrars and 343 CPs). More than 90% of GPs and CPs were positive about the effects of medication reconciliation on medication safety and adherence. Sixty per cent of GPs reported having no formal system of medication reconciliation. Communication between GPs and CPs was identified as good/very good by >90% of GPs and CPs. The majority (>80%) of both groups could clearly recall prescribing errors, following a transition of care, they had witnessed in the previous 6 months. Free text content analysis corroborated the positive relationship between GPs and CPs, a frustration with secondary care communication, with many examples given of prescribing errors.

Conclusions: While there is enthusiasm for the benefits of medication reconciliation there are limited formal structures in primary care to support it. Challenges in relation to systems that support inter-professional communication and reduce medication errors are features of the primary/secondary care transition. There is a need for an improved medication management system. Future research should focus on the identified barriers in implementing medication reconciliation and systems that can improve it.

Keywords: Continuity of care; medical errors/patient safety; medication reconciliation; pharmacology/drug reactions; primary care; quality of care..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • General Practitioners / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Medication Errors / prevention & control
  • Medication Reconciliation / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Pharmacists / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires