The MedGap study was a 2009 Australian prospective intervention study which identified a significant reduction in medication errors and locum doctor call-outs at residential care facilities (RCFs) following implementation of a hospital pharmacy-prepared interim residential care medication administration chart (IRCMAC). A 10-year follow-up of the MedGap study has been recently completed to determine whether the above reductions were sustained, and to assess RCF’s use of IRCMACs and discharge medications in original packaging.

RCFs received IRCMACs for 97.3% of patients included in the follow-up, which were used by the facility in 85.9% of cases. Medication supplied in original packaging upon hospital discharge was received for 89.0% of patients, and was used in 90.8% of cases. Only 2.7% of patients had one or more doses that were missed or significantly delayed. Locum doctor call-outs occurred for 12.3% of patients, which was consistent with the 2009 post-intervention results and significantly lower than the 2009 pre-intervention results. It was also reported that a majority of RCF staff felt IRCMACs and medication supplied on hospital discharge resulted in better outcomes for patients.

Researchers concluded that IRCMACs and discharge medication in original packaging was associated with improved patient care, fewer locum doctor call-outs and sustained reduction in missed or delayed doses. These findings support IRCMAC use as an efficient intervention to maintain medication continuity following hospital discharge to RCFs.

The 10-year follow up study, published in the Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Research, can be accessed here.

Contributed by Australian Medication Safety Services Associate, Isabella Singh