Two-thirds of patients released from an emergency department (ED) are given at least one medication. Prescription clarification by outpatient pharmacies for ED patients might result in patient delays and increased workload. For a study, researchers sought to describe medications that require clarification before being distributed by an outpatient pharmacy for patients who have just been released from an ED.

The investigation was carried out at a 61-bed urban academic emergency department. Prescription clarification forms were used to identify typical reasons for outpatient pharmacies to contact the ED before dispensing medicines. The many sorts of clarification were examined and categorized. Finally, the categorization kinds were shown using descriptive statistics. 

There were 1,278 documented calls to the ED for prescription clarification, which were classified as clarification of directions for use (611, 47.7%), insurance or affordability issues (182, 14.2%), dose (172, 13.4%), medication availability (126, 9.8%), lost or missing prescription (93, 7.3%), patient allergy or adverse event (62, 4.8%), duplication in therapy (17, 1.3%), and clarification of medication ordered (17, 1.3%). When clarifications were classified as provider, system, or patient-related, provider issues were found to be the most common (862 clarifications, 67.3%), followed by system difficulties (325 clarifications, 25.4%), and lastly, patient-related concerns (93 clarifications, 7.3%).

The most common reasons why outpatient pharmacies contacted an ED about a prescription for a recently released patient were clarification of the directions for usage, insurance or cost difficulties, and clarification of the dose.

Reference: jem-journal.com/article/S0736-4679(22)00029-4/fulltext