Results from a pilot study of pharmacy-supported medicines administration on hospital wards have revealed that the practice did not lead to a reduction in the number of omitted doses.
The aim of the research — supported by research charity Pharmacy Research UK and the UK Clinical Pharmacy Association, which promotes expert practice in medicines management — was to evaluate the impact of a pharmacy technician-supported medication administration service, known as TECHMED.
The pilot took place at a teaching hospital in North West England. The researchers also conducted a survey of pharmacy and nursing staff involved in the trial.
On the three hospital wards randomly assigned to the intervention, pharmacy technicians accompanied nursing staff on three out of four medication rounds on every weekday for a total of four weeks. Their roles included: sourcing medicines not currently available on the ward; supporting nurses in documenting medicines administration; and working with other staff when patients refused to take medication.
Compared with records taken from a four-week period before the intervention was implemented, the researchers found that the percentage of preventable omitted doses increased on TECHMED wards from 4.0% to 4.9%. Analyses also showed that the probability of missed doses overall — or those classed as ‘preventable’ — was similar between intervention wards and matched control wards in the same speciality.
The researchers say the study supports the feasibility of applying the intervention. They suggest that adjustments to future interventions could increase their impact, such as targeting wards or rounds with the greatest risk of missed doses.
“The TECHMED study has provided some important insights into the reality of delivering this type of service and how this may influence outcomes,” says Richard Keers, lead author and a clinical pharmacy lecturer at the University of Manchester.
“These findings may contribute to ongoing developments at a time when NHS healthcare providers may explore alternative approaches to efficiently deliver quality patient care,” he adds.