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12-25-2007, 11:16 PM
Interventions by a critical care pharmacist in a surgical intensive care unit helped a hospital avoid spending almost $280,000 over four and a half months, and 85 percent of those interventions were judged to have prevented medication-related injury in patients, according to a study in Dec. 1, 2007, edition of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy (Am J Health Syst Pharm 2007 64: 2483-2487). The study also found that another 9 percent of the interventions resulted in cost savings and 6 percent addressed preventable or non-preventable adverse drug events.

Results from the study's review of 129 interventions by the decentralized critical care pharmacist show the value of decentralized clinical pharmacy services to patients. In addition, the study by authors, Brian J. Kopp, Melinda Mrsan, Brian L. Erstad and Jeremiah J. Duby shows that nearly 80 percent of those interventions were discovered when the pharmacist joined patient care rounds and reviewed patient charts, instead of spending time verifying patients' orders. The majority of drug-related problems in the study were resolved quickly.

"This study shows the importance of critical care pharmacists in ensuring the safety and well being of patients, especially when they join other health care professionals on patient care rounds," said AJHP Editor in Chief C. Richard Talley.

In the study, the pharmacist at University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., documented his involvements with patients from October 2003 to February 2004. The pharmacist tracked the manner that drug-related problems were identified and the approach to dealing with them. Although pharmacists frequently monitor patients in ICUs, the authors say there's a lack of research on the effect of decentralized pharmacists detecting drug-related problems, particularly in ICUs.

The Dec. 1, 2007, article is available online. Click here (http://www.ajhp.org/cgi/content/full/64/23/2483?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=critical+care+pharmacists&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT). Enter "ashppr" when prompted for a username and password.

About ASHP

For more than 60 years, ASHP has helped pharmacists who practice in hospitals and health systems improve medication use and enhance patient safety. The Society's 30,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who practice in inpatient, outpatient, home-care, and long-term-care settings, as well as pharmacy students. For more information about the wide array of ASHP activities and the many ways in which pharmacists help people make the best use of medicines, visit ASHP's Web site, http://www.ashp.org (http://www.ashp.org/), or its consumer Web site, http://www.SafeMedication.com (http://www.safemedication.com/).