Medication misuse results in considerable problems for both patient and society. It is a complex problem with many contributing factors, including timely access to product information.
To investigate the value of 3-dimensional (3D) visualization paired with video conferencing as a tool for pharmaceutical advice over distance in terms of accessibility and ease of use for the advice seeker.
We created a Web-based communication service called AssistancePlus that allows an advisor to demonstrate the physical handling of a complex pharmaceutical product to an advice seeker with the aid of 3D visualization and audio/video conferencing. AssistancePlus was tested in 2 separate user studies performed in a usability lab, under realistic settings and emulating a real usage situation. In the first study, 10 pharmacy students were assisted by 2 advisors from the Swedish National Co-operation of Pharmacies' call centre on the use of an asthma inhaler. The student-advisor interview sessions were filmed on video to qualitatively explore their experience of giving and receiving advice with the aid of 3D visualization. In the second study, 3 advisors from the same call centre instructed 23 participants recruited from the general public on the use of 2 products: (1) an insulin injection pen, and (2) a growth hormone injection syringe. First, participants received advice on one product in an audio-recorded telephone call and for the other product in a video-recorded AssistancePlus session (product order balanced). In conjunction with the AssistancePlus session, participants answered a questionnaire regarding accessibility, perceived expressiveness, and general usefulness of 3D visualization for advice-giving over distance compared with the telephone and were given a short interview focusing on their experience of the 3D features.
In both studies, participants found the AssistancePlus service helpful in providing clear and exact instructions. In the second study, directly comparing AssistancePlus and the telephone, AssistancePlus was judged positively for ease of communication (P = .001), personal contact (P = .001), explanatory power (P
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The objective of this study was to evaluate the quality of the clinical pharmacy service in a Swedish hospital according to the Lund Integrated Medicine Management (LIMM) model, in terms of the acceptance and clinical significance of the recommendations made by clinical pharmacists.
The clinical significance of the recommendations made by clinical pharmacists was assessed for a random sample of inpatients receiving the clinical pharmacy service in 2007. Two independent physicians retrospectively ranked the recommendations emerging from errors in the patients' current medication list and actual drug-related problems according to Hatoum, with rankings ranging between 1 (adverse significance) and 6 (extremely significant).
The random sample comprised 132 patients (out of 800 receiving the service). The clinical significance of 197 recommendations was assessed. The physicians accepted and implemented 178 (90%) of the clinical pharmacists' recommendations. Most of these recommendations, 170 (83%), were ranked 3 (somewhat significant) or higher.
This study provides further evidence of the quality of the LIMM model and confirms that the inclusion of clinical pharmacists in a multi-professional team can improve drug therapy for inpatients. The very high level of acceptance by the physicians of the pharmacists' recommendations further demonstrates the effectiveness of the process.
The drug consumptions of 2228 residents in nursing homes aged 65 years and over were investigated and related to accidental falls during a period of seven months. 95% of the residents received treatment with one or more drugs and 33% with six or more drugs. The risk of accidental falls was significantly increased in persons receiving hypnotics, psychomarmaca and anti-Parkinson medicine. Individuals receiving diuretics, particularly thiazides, were less at risk for accidental falls. This investigation revealed an increased risk of falls particularly when residents were receiving treatment with a short-term hypnotic (Triazolam). It is recommended that this finding should be investigated further.
To assess the use of acute pancreatitis (AP)-associated drugs in patients with AP, the relation between sales of these drugs and the incidence of AP, and the potential impact on AP severity and recurrence.
All patients with incident AP between 2003 and 2012, in a well-defined area, were retrospectively identified. Data regarding AP etiology, severity, and recurrence and use of AP-associated drugs were extracted from medical records. Drugs were classified according to an evidence-based classification system. Annual drug sales data were obtained from the Swedish drug administration service.
Overall, 1457 cases of incident AP were identified. Acute pancreatitis-associated drug users increased from 32% in 2003 to 51% in 2012, reflecting increasing user rates in the general population. The incidence of AP increased during the study period but was not related to AP-associated drug user rates (P > 0.05). Recurrent AP occurred in 23% but was unrelated to AP-associated drug use (P > 0.05). In logistic regression analysis, after adjustment for comorbidity, AP-associated drug use was not related to AP severity (P > 0.05).
Use of AP-associated drugs is increasingly frequent in patients with AP. However, it does not have any major impact on the observed epidemiological changes in occurrence, severity, or recurrence of AP.
The US Institute for Safe Medication Practices' (ISMP) Medication Safety Self-Assessment (MSSA) tool for hospitals is a comprehensive tool for assessing safe medication practices in hospitals.
To adapt and remodel the ISMP MSSA tool for hospitals so that it can be used in individual wards in order to support long-term medication safety initiatives in Finland.
The MSSA tool was first adapted for Finnish hospital settings by a four-round (applicability, desirability and feasibility were evaluated) Delphi consensus method (14 panellists), and then remodelled by organizing the items into a new order which is consistent with the order of the ward-based pharmacotherapy plan recommended by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The adapted and remodelled tool was pilot tested in eight central hospital wards.
The original MSSA tool (231 items under ten key elements) was modified preliminarily before the Delphi rounds and 117 items were discarded, leaving 114 items for Delphi evaluation. The panel suggested 36 new items of which 23 were accepted. A total of 114 items (including 91 original and 23 new items) were accepted and remodelled under six new components that were pilot tested. The pilot test found the tool time-consuming but useful.
It was possible to adapt the ISMP's MSSA tool for another hospital setting. The modified tool can be used for a hospital pharmacy coordinated audit which supports long-term medication safety initiatives, particularly the establishment of ward-based pharmacotherapy plans as guided by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
To adapt a US Institute for Safe Medication Practices' Medication Safety Self Assessment (MSSA) tool to, and test its usefulness in, Finnish community pharmacies.
A three-round Delphi survey was used to adapt self-assessment characteristics of the US MSSA tool to Finnish requirements, and to obtain a consensus on the feasibility and significance of these characteristics in assessing the safety of medication practices in community pharmacies. The Delphi modified self-assessment tool was piloted in 18 community pharmacies in order to refine the tool, using a questionnaire containing structured and open-ended questions.
A total of 211 self-assessment characteristics were accepted to the self-assessment tool for pilot use by expert panellists in the Delphi rounds. Most pilot users considered the tool as useful in: identifying medication safety targets for development; medication safety assessment; and identifying the strengths of medication safety. The substance of the self-assessment tool was considered as comprehensive and essential for medication safety. Most criticism was regarding: the multiplicity of self-assessment characteristics; interpretation of some characteristics; and that all the characteristics were not yet available. After the modification, according to the pilot users' comments, the final Finnish tool consisted of 230 medication safety characteristics.
The study indicated the feasibility of adapting a US medication safety self-assessment tool for use in community pharmacy practice in Finland. More efforts should be made to familiarise Finnish community pharmacists with the self-assessment tool and its benefits, and get them to use the tool as part of their long-term quality improvement.
Consumer reporting of adverse drug reactions (ADRs) has existed in several countries for decades, but throughout Europe the role of consumers as a source of information on ADRs has not been fully accepted until recently. In Europe, The Netherlands and Sweden were among the first countries to implement consumer reporting well before it was mandated by law throughout the EU. Consumer reporting is an integral part of the spontaneous reporting systems in both The Netherlands and Sweden, with yearly numbers of reports constantly increasing. Consumer reporting forms and handling procedures are essentially the same as for healthcare professional reporting; the message in the reports, not the type of messenger, is what is of importance. Studies have established the significant contribution of consumer reporting to ADR signal detection. Combining all reports regardless of reporter type is recommended since it yields the largest critical mass of reports for signal detection. Examples of signals where consumer reports have been of crucial importance for signal detection are electric shock-like sensations associated with the use of duloxetine, and persistent sexual dysfunction after discontinuation of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. An example of consumer reporting significantly strengthening a detected signal is Pandemrix(®) (influenza H1N1 vaccine)-induced narcolepsy. Raising public awareness of ADR reporting is important, but time- and resource-consuming. The minimum effort taken should be to passively inform consumers, e.g. via stakeholders' homepages and via drug product information leaflets. Another possibility of reaching out to this target group could be through co-operation with other (non-government) organizations. Information from consumer reports may give a new perspective on ADRs via the consumers' unfiltered experiences. Consumers' views may change the way the benefit-harm balance of drugs is perceived and assessed today, and, being the ultimate users of drugs, consumers could have a relevant influence in the regulatory decision-making processes for drugs. All stakeholders in pharmacovigilance should embrace this new valuable source of information.
The trend towards polypharmacy is increasing among the elderly, and associated with this trend is an increased risk of adverse drug effects and drug-drug interactions. Our objective was to assess whether drug adverse effects reported by patients are in general agreement with those identified by a physician.
We evaluated the medication of 404 randomly selected individuals aged 75 years or older by means of interviews carried out by trained nurses and examinations conducted by a physician. The medication used by these patients was recorded prior to the physician's examination and modified thereafter if considered appropriate. Adverse effects noted by the physician were compared to those self-reported by the patients.
Almost all of the patients (98.8%) were using at least one drug, and the mean total number of drugs used was 6.5. Adverse effects were self-reported by 11.4% of the patients, whereas the physician observed apparent adverse drug effects in 24.0% of the patients. No adverse effects were reported in 53.2% of the patients. There were only seven patients that had adverse effects that were both self-reported and identified by the physician, and only four of these patients reported the same adverse effect that had been identified by the physician.
There was a great disparity between the adverse effects identified by the physician and those reported by the patients themselves. Based on our results, it would appear that elderly people tend to neglect adverse drug effects and may consider them to be an unavoidable part of normal ageing. Therefore, physicians should enquire about possible adverse effects even though elderly patients may not complain of any drug-related problems.