International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 35, Issue 6, pp 1063–1074 | Cite as

Medication assessment tool to detect care issues from routine data: a pilot study in primary care

  • Tobias DreischulteEmail author
  • Julienne Johnson
  • John McAnaw
  • Marlies Geurts
  • Han de Gier
  • Steve Hudson
Research Article


Background Medication assessment tools (MATs) may be implemented in routine electronic data sources in order to identify patients with opportunities for optimisation of medication therapy management (MTM) and follow-up by a multi-disciplinary team. Objective (1) To demonstrate the use of a MAT for cardiovascular conditions (MATCVC) as a means of profiling potential opportunities for MTM optimisation in primary care and (2) to assess the performance of MATCVC in identifying actual opportunities for better care. Setting Members of a pharmacotherapy discussion group, i.e. two single-handed general practitioners (GPs), three GP partners, and community pharmacists (CPs) from each of two community pharmacies, in a rural part of the Netherlands. Methods MATCVC comprises 21 medication assessment criteria, each of which is designed to detect a specific care issue and to check whether it is ‘addressed’ by provision of guideline recommended care or ‘open’ in the presence (‘open explained’) or absence (‘open unexplained’) of pre-specified explanations for guideline deviations. (1) Relevant data was extracted from linked GP and CP electronic records and MATCVC assessment was conducted to profile the population of CVC patients registered with both, participating CPs and GPs, in terms of ‘open unexplained’ care issues. (2) A purposive sample of patients with ‘open unexplained’ care issues was reviewed by each patient’s GP. Main outcome measures Number and proportion of ‘open unexplained’ care issues per MATCVC criterion and per patient. The number of patients with MATCVC detected ‘open unexplained’ care issues to be reviewed (NNR) in order to identify one that requires changes in MTM. Results In 1,876 target group patients, MATCVC identified 6,915 care issues, of which 2,770 (40.1 %) were ‘open unexplained’. At population level, ten MATCVC criteria had particularly high potential for quality improvement. At patient level, 1,277 (68.1 %) target group patients had at least one ‘open unexplained’ care issue. For patients with four or more ‘open unexplained’ care issues, the NNR was 2 (95 % CI 2–2). Conclusion The study demonstrates potential ways of using MATCVC as a key component of a collaborative MTM system. Strategies that promote documentation and sharing of explanations for deviating from guideline recommendations may enhance the utility of the approach.


Cardiovascular diseases Community pharmacy services General practice Guideline adherence Medication assessment tool Medication therapy management Primary health care The Netherlands 



Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor


Atrial fibrillation


Angiotensin receptor blocker


Beta blocker


Blood pressure


Calcium channel blocker


Clinical explanation


Stroke risk stratification tool in atrial fibrillation, where congestive heart failure, hypertension, age >75 and diabetes mellitus score 1 point each and a history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack score 2 points. A score of 0 is deemed ‘low’, a score of 1 ‘intermediate’ and a score of ≥2 ‘high’ risk


Coronary heart disease


Chronic heart failure


Confidence interval


Community pharmacist


Cardiovascular condition


Vascular disease comprising peripheral vascular disease, history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack and coronary heart disease or history of acute coronary syndrome


Diabetes mellitus


Estimated glomerular filtration rate


General practitioner


Glycosylated haemoglobin




International classification of primary care


Medication assessment tool


Myocardial infarction


Medication therapy management


Number needed to review


Oral anticoagulant


Peripheral vascular disease


Renin angiotensin system inhibitor


Transient ischaemic attack



We would like to thank all general practitioners and community pharmacy staff, who participated in this study. This study would not have been possible without Professor Steve Hudson, who sadly passed away during the preparation of this paper.


The study was conducted without specific external funding. During the conduct of this study, T.D. was supported by personal grants from the Harold and Marjorie Charitable Trust, Dr. Anni and Dr. August Lesmueller Stiftung and the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Dreischulte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julienne Johnson
    • 2
  • John McAnaw
    • 3
  • Marlies Geurts
    • 4
  • Han de Gier
    • 4
  • Steve Hudson
    • 2
  1. 1.NHS Tayside c/o Division of Population Health SciencesUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland, UK
  2. 2.Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical SciencesUniversity of StrathclydeGlasgowScotland, UK
  3. 3.NHS 24South QueensferryScotland, UK
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacotherapy and Pharmaceutical CareUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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