Audit of community pharmacists’ prescribing interventions: Quality assessment of a newly reimbursed service
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OBJECTIVES: To evaluate community pharmacists' reimbursed prescribing interventions (called pharmaceutical opinions/POs in Canada) by determining the types of drug-related problems (DRPs) identified; the type, quality, and clinical impact of recommendations made; and variation in recommendation quality across regions, pharmacy ownership type, and pharmacy size. DESIGN: Retrospective audit of randomly sampled service documentation records. SETTING: Community pharmacies in Ontario, Canada, 3 years after implementation of a government program that reimburses pharmacies for providing DRP-based POs to physicians. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-six community pharmacies in 4 regions of Ontario. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: For each PO, 2 experienced clinical pharmacists independently, and then by consensus, determined the primary drug implicated and its therapeutic category, the type of DRP, and the type of prescriber recommendation. Each PO recommendation was assessed for clinical impact, evidence base, and overall quality. Chi-square analyses assessed the relationship between PO quality and pharmacy characteristics. RESULTS: Of 563 POs, 261 (46%) met reimbursement criteria for stating a DRP and prescriber recommendation. Among these eligible POs, systemic antiinfective (22%), alimentary tract and metabolism (19%), nervous system (15%), and cardiovascular (15%) drugs were most commonly identified in the DRP. Adverse drug reactions (which included drug interactions) were the most common type of DRP (42.5%), followed by "dose too high" (16%) and "needs additional therapy" (14%). Top recommendations were to change the drug (41%) and to decrease the dose (20%). The quality of the pharmacist's recommendation was judged to be good to excellent in 70% of the 261 eligible POs; quality was associated with region and ownership type. CONCLUSION: PO quality was suboptimal: the primary issue was failure to state a prescriber recommendation. Collaborative efforts are needed from community pharmacy stakeholders (schools of pharmacy, regulatory colleges, and continuing education providers) to help pharmacists enhance the quality of their POs, beginning with their clinical documentation skills.
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