Introduction: The risk of prescribing errors and related adverse drug events (ADE) on the intensive care unit (ICU) is high. Based on studies carried out in North America or the UK, a clinical pharmacy service can reduce ADEs and lower overall costs. This study looks into the clinical and financial impact of interventions made by pharmacists during patient rounds in two ICU settings in the Netherlands.
Materials and methods: A quality improvement study was performed in a general teaching hospital (GTH) and a university hospital (UH) in the Netherlands. The improvement consisted of a review of medication orders and participation in patient rounds by an ICU-trained pharmacist. The main outcome measure was the proportion of accepted pharmacist interventions. Secondary outcome measures were the clinical relevance
of the accepted interventions, the proportion of prevented potential ADEs (pADE) and a cost-benefit ratio.
Results: In the GTH 160 patients and in the UH 174 patients were included. A total of 332 and 280 interventions were analysed. Acceptance of the interventions was 67.3% in the GTH and 61.8% in the UH. The accepted interventions were mostly scored as clinically relevant, resulting in 0.16 and 0.11 prevented pADEs per patient. The cost benefit was €119 (GTH) and €136 (UH) per accepted intervention.
Conclusion: This clinical pharmacy service in two ICUs resulted in high numbers of accepted and clinically relevant interventions. Our model appeared to be cost-effective in both ICU settings.