Reducing adverse drug events by targeting at-risk patients

September 3, 2013

Knowing which patients are most at-risk for adverse drug events would help hospitals direct pharmacist-led counseling services to those who need it the most. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation is funding research it believes will make it easier to identify those patients.

 

Knowing which patients are most at-risk for adverse drug events would help hospitals direct pharmacist-led counseling services to those who need it the most. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Foundation is funding research it believes will make it easier to identify those patients.

The ASHP Foundation has awarded a two-year, $499,000 grant to University of Florida College of Pharmacy (UFCOP) researcher Almut Winterstein. He will lead a University of Florida Health research team that will develop a patient complexity score that will direct pharmacists to the patients who need MTM counseling the most.

“Adverse events in healthcare have received increasing attention over the past two decades because many are preventable,” said Winterstein, a professor of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy at the UFCOP. “Errors surrounding the selection or dosing of medications have been described as one of the most prominent areas in healthcare that result in preventable adverse events.”

The complexity score developed by Winterstein and his research team will use automated information in patients’ electronic health records to predict which patients are at greatest risk for having an adverse drug event. Based on the complexity score, Winterstein said a daily report could be generated to alert pharmacists of the patients with the highest at-risk scores.

According to ASHP Foundation, the complexity score will be developed and tested at UF Health Shands Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville. Eventually, an automated scoring system that can be implemented nationwide will be integrated into electronic health records.

“The ASHP Foundation is excited to support this groundbreaking work at the University of Florida,” said Stephen J. Allen, MS, executive vice president and CEO of the ASHP Foundation. “We expect that use of this validated score in hospitals across the United States will result in better patient care and optimized use of pharmacists as the healthcare team members who are responsible and accountable for patients’ medication-related outcomes.”

By the second year of the study, the complexity score will be tested in 13 hospitals, including the Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Gainesville, Fla., seven Orlando-area hospitals within the Florida Hospital system, and five hospitals belonging to the Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare in Memphis, Tenn.