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Medication Errors After Hospital Discharge FREE

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The full report is titled “Effect of a Pharmacist Intervention on Clinically Important Medication Errors After Hospital Discharge. A Randomized Trial.” It is in the 3 July 2012 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine (volume 157, pages 1-10). The authors are S. Kripalani, C.L. Roumie, A.K. Dalal, C. Cawthon, A. Businger, S.K. Eden, A. Shintani, K. Cunningham Sponsler, L.J. Harris, C. Theobald, R.L. Huang, D. Scheurer, S. Hunt, T.A. Jacobson, K.J. Rask, V. Vaccarino, T.K. Gandhi, D.W. Bates, M.V. Williams, and J.L. Schnipper, for the PILL-CVD (Pharmacist Intervention for Low Literacy in Cardiovascular Disease) Study Group.

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Ann Intern Med. 2012;157(1):I-32. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-1-201207030-00001
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What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

Many patients have problems with their medications after hospital discharge.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

Some studies that have used pharmacists to improve medication use after discharge were successful, but others were not.

Who was studied?

Adults who were hospitalized with a heart attack or heart failure.

How was the study done?

The researchers randomly assigned some patients to receive usual care and other patients to a program where pharmacists made special efforts to ensure prescribing accuracy, discussed medication use with patients during hospitalization and at discharge using patient education aids, and called patients after discharge. The researchers who determined whether medication errors occurred after discharge did not know which type of care the patients had received.

What did the researchers find?

One half of the patients had a medication error during the month after discharge, regardless of whether they received usual care or were in the special program.

What were the limitations of the study?

These results are from patients who were relatively well-educated, literate, and cognitively intact and from academic hospitals that already had strong medication-use programs.

What are the implications of the study?

Not all pharmacist-led interventions to improve medication use after discharge are effective.





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