The safety of a pharmacist-led discharge prescribing model has been evaluated in a prospective, randomised controlled study conducted in an Australian geriatric medical ward. Phase 1 of the study investigated handwritten prescriptions and involved 45 patients who received either conventional (n = 21) or pharmacist-led prescribing (n = 24) on hospital discharge. At least one medication error was detected in 95% of the control group and 29% of the intervention group (p < 0.0002, relative risk [RR] 0.31, confidence interval [CI] 0.16—0.58). Phase 2 compared the safety between conventional (n = 18) and pharmacist-led prescribing (n = 21) in digital prescriptions. At least one medication error was found in 100% of the control group and 62% in the intervention group (p = 0.005, RR 0.62, CI 0.44—0.87). In both phases, the number of items with at least one error, and also with at least one clinically significant error were reduced following discharge prescribing by a pharmacist. No significant differences were found in the percentage of patients with medication errors between handwritten and digital prescriptions. These findings suggest that discharge prescribing by pharmacists leads to optimised safety outcomes among geriatric patients in this setting, and represents a potential role for Australian pharmacists in the future. The study, recently published in the International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, can be viewed here.

Contribuetd by AMSS Associate, Isabella Singh