Development of the adult complexity tool for pharmaceutical care (ACTPC) in hospital: a modified Delphi study

Meshal A Alshakrah, Douglas T Steinke, Mary P Tully, Aseel S Abuzour, Steven D Williams, Penny J Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Hospital pharmacists play an essential role in patient care; however, a lack of resources means pharmacists are unable to review all patients daily. Consequently, there is a demand for reliable screening tools to allocate care to patients with urgent and/or complex pharmaceutical needs. Several tools have been developed, but no broad consensus exists on the design of a screening tool to be used in the adult hospital setting.

OBJECTIVE: To obtain expert consensus on the design of a pharmaceutical care complexity screening tool for use on admission to hospital.

METHODS: Two Delphi studies were conducted: the first sought to gain consensus from experts including pharmacists, academics and physicians on the components of a pharmaceutical complexity tool, the second to achieve consensus from UK chief pharmacists and clinical service pharmacy managers on the clinical appropriateness and practicality of the tool. Tool components and Delphi statements were identified and refined from our previous systematic review, UK survey and interview study of prioritisation tools. A valid definition for consensus was used.

RESULTS: Over 300 components were extracted from the interview data and systematic review and then refined for inclusion in the first Delphi study. Thirty-three experts completed Delphi One and consensus was reached on 92 components. Components were grouped into demographic, clinical and medication components and condensed to 33 items, which were included in the first draft of the Adult Complexity Tool for Pharmaceutical Care (ACTPC). The tool stratified patients into highly, moderately or least complex. Forty expert panellists completed Delphi Two and consensus was reached on review frequency and experience of pharmacy practitioner at each level. These decisions were incorporated into the final version of the ACTPC.

CONCLUSIONS: The ACTPC is the first systematically designed and internationally agreed tool for use on medical admission to hospital. It has potential to enable the delivery of targeted patient-centred pharmaceutical care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in social & administrative pharmacy : RSAP
Early online date14 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Feb 2021


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