BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Medication safety problems are common post-hospital discharge, and an important global healthcare improvement target. The Transfers of Care Around Medicines (TCAM) service was launched by a National Health Service Trust in the North-West of England, initially focusing on patients with new or existing Monitored Dosage Systems (MDS). The TCAM service is designed to enable the prompt transfer of medication information, with referrals made by hospitals at discharge to a named community pharmacy. This study aimed to explore the utilisation and impact of the TCAM service on medication safety.
METHODS: The evaluation included a descriptive analysis of 3033 anonymised patient referrals to 71 community pharmacies over a 1-year period alongside an assessment of the impact of the TCAM service on unintentional medication discrepancies and adverse drug events using a retrospective before-and-after study design. Impact data were collected across 18 general practices by 16 trained clinical pharmacists.
RESULTS: Most patient referrals (70%, 2126/3033) were marked as 'completed' by community pharmacies, with 15% of completed referrals delayed beyond 30 days. Screening of 411 patient records by clinical pharmacists yielded no statistically significant difference in unintentional medication discrepancies or adverse drug event rates following TCAM implementation using a multivariable regression analysis (unintentional medication discrepancies adjusted odds ratio = 0.79 [95% confidence interval 0.44-1.44, p = 0.46]; and adverse drug events adjusted odds ratio = 1.19 [95% confidence interval 0.57-2.45, p = 0.63]), although there remained considerable uncertainty.
CONCLUSIONS: The TCAM service facilitated a number of community pharmacy services offered to patients with monitored dosage systems; but the impact of the intervention on unintentional medication discrepancies and adverse drug event rates post-hospital discharge for this patient group was uncertain. The results of this exploratory study can inform the ongoing implementation of the TCAM service at hospital discharge and highlight the need to understand service implementation in different contexts, which may influence its impact on medication safety.
- Patient Discharge
- Medication Reconciliation/methods
- Retrospective Studies
- State Medicine
- Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions/epidemiology
- Pharmacy Service, Hospital