Older patients (aged >65 years) may experience drug-related problems that, if unrecognized, can result in drug-related morbidities (DRMs). According to the literature, 49% to 76% of all DRMs may be preventable; however, there is little consensus as to which are preventable and which are not.
The aim of this study was to develop consensus-approved clinical indicators of preventable DRM (PDRM) in older adults. Geriatricians, clinical pharmacologists, general practitioners, and clinical pharmacists were included in the consensus-building process.
In 2001, a survey containing potential indicators of PDRM was prepared based on previous research and the input of 2 clinical pharmacists. The survey was administered concurrently via the Delphi technique to 2 separate specialist panels (6 geriatricians and 6 clinical pharmacologists) to generate clinical indicators of PDRMs in older adults. Subsequently, a focus group of 12 general practitioners (GPs) assessed these PDRM indicators in Nova Scotia, Canada.
The specialist panels generated 58 consensus-approved clinical indicators of PDRMs in older adults after 2 rounds of the Delphi technique. The GPs agreed with 52 (90%) of these PDRM indicators.
This study generated consensus-approved indicators of PDRMs in older adults, which could be used by health professionals to identify patients at risk for PDRMs. The indicators could also have a role in quality measurement systems and in epidemiologic research. Furthermore, the indicators could complement existing clinical indicators and establish an important link between patterns of care and clinical outcomes.