DOI: 10.1002/hsr2.1971 ISSN: 2398-8835

Collaborative medication reviews in community pharmacies—Drug‐related problems and the process of communicating them with physicians: A retrospective validation study

Jonna‐Carita Kanninen, Terhi Toivo, Marja Airaksinen, Anu Holm, Eeva Savela, Maarit Dimitrow, Jarkko Tuunanen, Saija Leikola, Juha Puustinen
  • General Medicine


Background and Aims

Cooperation between practicing community pharmacists (PPs) and primary care physicians has traditionally been limited, with scarce communication on therapeutic issues. The aim of this study was to assess how PPs communicate in writing with physicians regarding (1) the clinically relevant problems they have identified in patients' medications and (2) recommendations to solve the problems to identify development needs in the communication process.


This retrospective validation study assessed medication reviews conducted by PPs in collaboration with home care nurses, practice nurses, and physicians for 46 older (≥65 years) home care clients in the Municipality of Lohja, Finland. The therapeutic and communicative appropriateness of clinically relevant drug‐related problems (DRPs) identified by PPs and reported in writing to physicians was blindly evaluated by (1) an accredited pharmacist (AP) and (2) two physicians specialized in geriatric pharmacotherapy. Descriptive statistical analysis was conducted to compare the assessments.


The PPs (n = 13) identified 189 DRPs and made 4.1 recommendations per patient in 46 written reports to physicians. Of the PPs' written recommendations for medication changes, 46% (155/334) were the same as those by the AP. The two specialized physicians evaluated 69% and 67% of PPs' recommendations to be clinically relevant. The way the DRPs and recommendations to solve them were communicated was evaluated as appropriate in 38% and 38%, respectively, of the case reports written by the PPs.


The PPs were able identify DRPs quite well, particularly inappropriate medication use, according to current care guidelines and formularies. It was found that improvement was needed in the communication of DRPs in written reports with physicians. Interprofessional learning by working in care teams would be suitable for strengthening patient care–oriented competencies.

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