Pharmacists in community hospitals have reported intervening to improve the care provided to over a third of patients, reports a small study published in the online journal the European Journal of Hospital Pharmacy.
It is the first study to evaluate pharmacy interventions for inpatients at community hospitals in the UK.
Pharmacists from 15 organisations recorded all interventions to optimise medication for community hospital inpatients over 14 days in November 2013. Interventions were subsequently classified by type and rated for potential clinical impact.
In total, 52,033 medication orders were screened by pharmacists. They reported intervening to improve the care provided to over a third of the patients, and that two-thirds of these interventions involved prescribing errors.
Of these, a third, if left undetected, might have led to moderate or severe harm to the patient, which could have been associated with an increased length of stay or other detrimental outcome.
The authors conclude that “a clinical pharmacy service is vital to ensure patient safety in community hospitals.”
They add: “Medicines associated with a high-risk profile, which are used within community hospitals, pose a significant risk to patients, and further study is required to define the contributing factors.”