Studies have clearly identified the outpatient dialysis population as one that is at high risk for drug-related problems. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether a fax document was useful for community pharmacies and family physicians to notify these health care providers that their patient was receiving hemodialysis, to update medication and allergy records, provide dosing information on antibiotics and drugs to avoid, facilitate communication from the hemodialysis unit, and to decide if this was a worthwhile project to continue on an on-going basis.
Fax documents were sent to community pharmacists and family physicians of 70 hemodialysis patients from two different hemodialysis satellite units. The fax document consisted of a brief cover letter with contact numbers, a copy of the patient's medication and allergy list, a table of appropriate antibiotic doses and medications to avoid in dialysis, and a survey to evaluate this project's usefulness. Fisher's exact test was used to determine whether there were any significant differences between the family physician and community pharmacist responses.
The survey response rate was 37%. Ninety-five per cent (20/21) of family physicians and 81% (22/27) of community pharmacists who responded to the survey would use the medication profile to update their records. Ninety-five per cent of family physicians and 93% of community pharmacies thought the fax document was an improvement in communication from the dialysis unit. Ninety per cent of family physicians and 85% of community pharmacies thought that the fax document was a worthwhile project for the dialysis unit to continue. No significant differences were found between family physician and community pharmacist responses.
Implementation of a fax document for the transfer of medication information to family physicians and community pharmacists caring for hemodialysis patients aids in updating medication and allergy profiles, improves communication fom the dialysis unit and is considered a worthwhile project to continue on an ongoing basis.