Two-thirds of patients discharged from an emergency department (ED) receive at least one drug. Clarification of prescriptions by outpatient pharmacies for emergency patients could lead to delays for patients and increased workload. For one study, researchers sought to describe drugs that require clarification before being dispensed by an outpatient pharmacy for patients just discharged from an emergency department.
The survey was conducted in a 61-bed urban university emergency department. Prescription clarification forms were used to identify typical reasons that outpatient pharmacies contact the emergency department before dispensing medication. The many types of clarification have been reviewed and categorized. Finally, the types of categorization were presented using descriptive statistics.
There were 1,278 documented calls to the emergency department for prescription clarifications, which were categorized as instructions for use clarification (611, 47.7%), insurance or affordability concerns (182, 14.2%), dose (172, 13.4%), drug availability (126, 9.8%), lost or missing prescription (93, 7.3%), patient allergy or adverse event (62, 4.8%), duplication of treatment (17, 1.3%) and clarification of prescribed drugs (17, 1.3%) . When clarifications were categorized as provider-, system-, or patient-related, provider issues were most common (862 clarifications, 67.3%), followed by system difficulties (325 clarifications, 25.4%), and finally , patient-related concerns. (93 clarifications, 7.3%).
The most common reasons outpatient pharmacies contacted an emergency department about a prescription for a recently discharged patient were to clarify instructions for use, insurance or cost issues, and to clarify the dose.