Clinical pharmacists' interventions across German hospitals: results from a repetitive cross-sectional study

Int J Clin Pharm. 2021 Aug 17. doi: 10.1007/s11096-021-01313-3. Online ahead of print.


Background Pharmacists' interventions (PI) are suitable to improve medication safety and optimise patient outcome. However, in Germany, clinical pharmacy services are not yet available nationwide. Aim To gain prospective data on the extent and the composition of routine PI with special focus on intervention rates among German hospital pharmacists during two intervention weeks. Methods Within a repetitive cross-sectional study, clinical pharmacists documented all PIs on five days during a one-month period (intervention week) in 2017 and 2019 using the validated online-database ADKA-DokuPIK. Additionally, data regarding the supply structure/level of medical care, the extent of clinical pharmacy services and their professional experience were collected. All data were anonymised before analysis. Results In total, 2,282 PI from 62 pharmacists (2017) and 2578 PI from 52 pharmacists (2019) were entered. Intervention rate increased from 27.5 PI/100 patient days in 2017 to 38.5 PI/100 patient days in 2019 (p = 0.0097). Frequency of clinical pharmacy services on a daily basis significantly increased from 60% (2017) to 83% (2019). Reasons for PIs from the categories "drugs" (e.g. indication, choice, documentation/transcription) and "dose" were most common in both intervention weeks. The vast majority of underlying medication errors in both intervention weeks were categorised as "error, no harm" (80.3 vs. 78.6%), while the proportion of errors which did not reach the patient, doubled to 39.8% in IW-2019. Conclusion Regular and daily clinical pharmacy services become more established in Germany and clinical pharmacists are increasingly involved in solving drug related problems proactively and early during the medication management process.

Keywords: Drug related problem; Medication errors; Medication therapy management; Pharmacists’ interventions; Pharmacy service, hospital.