Pharmacist-led discharge medication counselling: A scoping review

J Eval Clin Pract. 2018 Jun;24(3):570-579. doi: 10.1111/jep.12933. Epub 2018 Apr 24.


Rationale, aims, and objectives: Discharge medication counselling has produced improved quality of care and health outcomes, especially by reducing medication errors and readmission rates, and improving medication adherence. However, no studies have assembled an evidence-based discharge counselling process for clinical pharmacists. Thus, the present study aims to map the components of the pharmacist-led discharge medication counselling process.

Methods: We performed a scoping review by searching electronic databases (Pubmed, Scopus, and DOAJ) and conducting a manual search to identify studies published up to July 2017. Studies that addressed pharmacist-led discharge medication counselling, regardless of the population, clinical conditions, and outcomes evaluated, were included.

Results: A total of 1563 studies were retrieved, with 75 matching the inclusion criteria. Thirty-two different components were identified, and the most prevalent were the indication of the medications and adverse drug reactions, which were reported in more than 50% of the studies. The components were reported similarly by studies from the USA and the rest of the world, and over the years. However, 2 differences were identified: the use of a dosage schedule, which was more frequent in studies published in 2011 or before and in studies outside the USA; and the teach-back technique, which was used more frequently in the USA. Poor quality reporting was also observed, especially regarding the duration of the counselling, the number of patients, and the medical condition.

Conclusion: Mapping the components of the pharmacist-led discharge counselling studies through a scoping review allowed us to reveal how this service is performed around the world. Wide variability in this process and poor reporting were identified. Future studies are needed to define the core outcome set of this clinical pharmacy service to allow the generation of robust evidence and reproducibility in clinical practice.

Keywords: counselling; evidence-based practice; patient discharge; pharmaceutical care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Counseling*
  • Humans
  • Medication Reconciliation*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital*
  • Professional Role