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The value of follow-up calls by pharmacists

Pharmacists often review prescriptions with patients in South Carolina and elsewhere over the telephone in an effort to reduce medication errors, but some wonder if they actually help. The efforts really don't assist those who may need more care, according to a recently-published study. The author of the study, an associate professor of pharmacy practice, stated that the results showed that people who are considered low-risk benefit the most from the phone check-ups by pharmacists.

The phone calls and other medication therapy management services are part of an effort to help manage and reduce the bad health effects, as well as the high cost of hospitalizations, of those who may have had a bad reaction to a particular drug or from a drug that was wrongfully prescribed. It has been estimated that more than $290 billion was spent during 2009 to cover prescription-related deaths and illnesses.

The report further said that of 415 patients that received the telephone consultation with pharmacists, there were 460 medical issues that were revealed, including problems with adherence, inappropriate dosage or drugs prescribed or drug interactions. Out of this number, 24 percent of the issues required the involvement of a physician to resolve, and 90 percent of those problems were ultimately taken care of.

According to the report, it is obvious that medical malpractice is a serious problem in the United States. Even with services to double check on patient care, there are still some cases that slip through the cracks. If a person has been injured due to being prescribed the wrong medication, for example, a medical malpractice attorney may be able to pursue appropriate compensation.

Source: Medical Xpress, "A phone call from a pharmacist can reduce some hospital admissions", Valerie Debenedette, April 11, 2014

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