New study equals new opportunity for pharmacists – ADEs in the ED

The February 2011 issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine has an article that reveals that patients that come through the emergency department (ED) secondary to an adverse drug event (ADE) “had a higher risk of spending additional days in the hospital per month and higher rate of outpatient health care encounters. The adjusted median monthly cost of care was 1.90 times higher (Can $325 versus $96; 95% CI 1.18 to 3.08).” In other words people that suffer and ADE create a burden on the healthcare system.

The study was conducted in Canada, which by itself holds little significance. But I would wager a guess that most patients in Canada receive their prescriptions from a single primary care physician while patients in the US receive their medications from multiple physicians at the same time, i.e. patients in the US probably have a greater potential for ADEs.

Medication reconciliation across the healthcare continuum is probably the best weapon we have in the fight against ADEs in the outpatient setting. And who can better manage a patient’s medication reconciliation than pharmacists? Uh, no one. Getting a pharmacist involved sounds like a good investment to me.


Hohl CM, Nosyk B, Kuramoto L, et al. Outcomes of Emergency Department Patients Presenting With Adverse Drug Events. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2011

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