The cost-saving effect and prevention of medication errors by clinical pharmacist intervention in a nephrology unit

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Abstract

Medication errors may lead to adverse drug events (ADEs), which endangers patient safety and increases healthcare-related costs. The on-ward deployment of clinical pharmacists has been shown to reduce preventable ADEs, and save costs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ADEs prevention and cost-saving effects by clinical pharmacist deployment in a nephrology ward.

This was a retrospective study, which compared the number of pharmacist interventions 1 year before and after a clinical pharmacist was deployed in a nephrology ward. The clinical pharmacist attended ward rounds, reviewed and revised all medication orders, and gave active recommendations of medication use. For intervention analysis, the numbers and types of the pharmacist's interventions in medication orders and the active recommendations were compared. For cost analysis, both estimated cost saving and avoidance were calculated and compared.

The total numbers of pharmacist interventions in medication orders were 824 in 2012 (preintervention), and 1977 in 2013 (postintervention). The numbers of active recommendation were 40 in 2012, and 253 in 2013. The estimated cost savings in 2012 and 2013 were NT$52,072 and NT$144,138, respectively. The estimated cost avoidances of preventable ADEs in 2012 and 2013 were NT$3,383,700 and NT$7,342,200, respectively. The benefit/cost ratio increased from 4.29 to 9.36, and average admission days decreased by 2 days after the on-ward deployment of a clinical pharmacist.

The number of pharmacist's interventions increased dramatically after her on-ward deployment. This service could reduce medication errors, preventable ADEs, and costs of both medications and potential ADEs.

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