Background: Inappropriate drug prescribing causes preventable drug-related adverse events that result in increased morbidity and mortality, additional costs and diminished quality of life. Numerous initiatives have been launched to improve the quality of drug prescribing and safeguard the security of drug administration processes in nursing homes. Against the backdrop of implementation of telemedicine services, the focus of the present work is to evaluate the impact of a telemedication review carried out by a hospital physician and pharmacist as part of the telemedicine offer.
Methods: The present study is a randomized controlled clinical trial. A total of 364 patients will be randomized into two groups: (1) an experimental group (182 patients) benefiting from a telemedication review using tele-expertise and (2) a control group (182 patients) receiving standard care. The primary endpoint will be rate of all-cause unplanned hospital admissions occurring within 3 months of randomization. The secondary endpoints will be rate of unplanned admissions at 6 months, patient quality of life, incidence of behavioral disturbances, number of falls, number of residents prescribed at least one inappropriate medication, nursing staff satisfaction, proposed medication reviews and their acceptability rate, characteristics of patients whose general practitioners have taken account of tele-expertise, efficacy of tele-expertise as compared to standard prescription and acceptability and satisfaction surveys of participating caregivers.
Discussion: In the literature, various studies have investigated the utility of structured medication review processes, but outcome measures are heterogeneous, and results vary widely. Medication review can detect medication-related problems in many patients, but evidence of clinical impact is scant. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios will be used to compare the cost and effectiveness of the experimental strategy and that of standard care. Our approach, involving the combination of an acceptability survey and a mixed-method (qualitative and quantitative) satisfaction survey, is particularly innovative. The results of this randomized trial are expected to confirm that medication review using tele-expertise has potential as a worthwhile care management strategy for nursing home residents.
Keywords: Drug; Elderly; Iatrogenic; Inappropriate medication; Tele-expertise; Telemedicine.