Systematic review and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of pharmacist-led medication reconciliation in the community after hospital discharge

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Abstract

Background

Pharmacists’ completion of medication reconciliation in the community after hospital discharge is intended to reduce harm due to prescribed or omitted medication and increase healthcare efficiency, but the effectiveness of this approach is not clear. We systematically review the literature to evaluate intervention effectiveness in terms of discrepancy identification and resolution, clinical relevance of resolved discrepancies and healthcare utilisation, including readmission rates, emergency department attendance and primary care workload.

Methods

This is a systematic literature review and meta-analysis of extracted data. Medline, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), EMBASE, Allied and Complementary Medicine Database (AMED),Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), Scopus, NHS Evidence and the Cochrane databases were searched using a combination of medical subject heading terms and free-text search terms. Controlled studies evaluating pharmacist-led medication reconciliation in the community after hospital discharge were included. Study quality was appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Evidence was assessed through meta-analysis of readmission rates. Discrepancy identification rates, emergency department attendance and primary care workload were assessed narratively.

Results

Fourteen studies were included, comprising five randomised controlled trials, six cohort studies and three pre–post intervention studies. Twelve studies had a moderate or high risk of bias. Increased identification and resolution of discrepancies was demonstrated in the four studies where this was evaluated. Reduction in clinically relevant discrepancies was reported in two studies. Meta-analysis did not demonstrate a significant reduction in readmission rate. There was no consistent evidence of reduction in emergency department attendance or primary care workload.

Conclusions

Pharmacists can identify and resolve discrepancies when completing medication reconciliation after hospital discharge, but patient outcome or care workload improvements were not consistently seen. Future research should examine the clinical relevance of discrepancies and potential benefits on reducing healthcare team workload.

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