A cost-benefit analysis of hospital-wide medication reviews: a period prevalence study

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Background For specific medical specialties it has been shown that clinical pharmacists can have a beneficial effect on the reduction of drug-related problems by performing medication reviews. However, little is known on the cost–benefit ratio of hospital-wide implementation of medication reviews. Aim To investigate the effect of conducting hospital-wide medication reviews on the detection and resolution of drug-related problems, and to calculate the cost–benefit ratio of the intervention. Method In this observational prospective period prevalence study, medication reviews were conducted during five consecutive working days in a Dutch university hospital. Patients admitted for more than 24 h were included. The cost–benefit ratio of conducting the medication reviews was calculated by dividing the total costs by the total savings. Results In 622 medication reviews, 709 potential drug-related problems (1.1 per patient) were detected. The most common advice was to stop medication (38.6%). Patients with a potentially drug-related problem were significantly older, had a higher median number of prescriptions, and the median number of days from admission to the time of medication reviews was longer. Conducting medication reviews showed a positive cost–benefit ratio of 9.7. Conclusions Hospital-wide medication reviews by clinical pharmacists have a positive cost–benefit ratio and contribute to the detection and the resolution of drug related problems (DRPs), mainly by reducing overtreatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-145
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Pharmacy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank C. Bethlehem, M. R. B. S. Crombag, M. H. M. Diekstra, L. M. A. Favie, R. B. Flint, C. J. van der Hoeven, M. B. Mulder, E. J. Ruijgrok, M. J. Rutten- van Kranenburg, I. H. van der Sijs, N. S. Vermeer, B. C. M. de Winter and B. C. M. Witjes for conducting the medication reviews.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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