International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp 498–502 | Cite as

Drug related problems identified by community pharmacists on hospital discharge prescriptions in New Zealand

  • Rhiannon BraundEmail author
  • Carolyn V. Coulter
  • Amy Jane Bodington
  • Lauren Margaret Giles
  • Anna-Marie Greig
  • Larissa Jane Heaslip
  • Brooke Jane Marshall
Short Research Report


Background There can be a lack of transfer of information between hospitals and community pharmacies following patient discharge, which puts patients at a high risk of suffering drug related problems (DRPs). Community pharmacy plays a vital role in identifying and solving these discharge DRPs and taking action before these DRPs can lead to patient harm. Objective To identify the types and quantities of DRPs that community pharmacies detect within a single district health board (DHB) in New Zealand. Setting One DHB in New Zealand that contains 50 community pharmacies, which receive discharge prescriptions from two local hospitals. Method All community pharmacies in the DHB area (n = 50) were invited to participate in the 2 week study which involved documenting the number of hospital discharge prescriptions received, and then the number and type of DRPs identified and what interventions were required. Main outcome measure The number and type of DRPs identified as a proportion of all discharge prescriptions received during the 2 week study period. Results Initially a total of 38 pharmacies agreed to participate in this study, however only 32 pharmacies provided data for the entire 2 week period. Over a 2 week period a total of 1,374 hospital discharge prescriptions were presented to these pharmacies. From these prescriptions 344 (25 %) required further action to be taken by the pharmacist. These 344 prescriptions consisted of a total of 396 individual DRPs. Actions classified as “Supply and/or Funding” accounted for 43 % (171), which represented the largest class of all actions required from hospital discharge prescriptions. This class consisted of “Special Authority” problems, medications not being available, non-subsidised items on the prescription and other supply/funding problems. “Errors” accounted for 38 % (151) which included errors of omission (20 %) and errors of commission (18 %). Conclusion This study found a significant number of DRPs identified by community pharmacists on hospital discharge prescriptions. These included missing and incorrect information which required clarification with prescribers. Interventions need to be put in place to reduce the number of errors and improve clarity of hospital discharge prescriptions. Better information sharing and understanding of medications available in primary care will reduce the potential for DRPs.


Community pharmacy Drug related problems Interventions Primary secondary interface 



The authors wish to acknowledge the participation of the pharmacies involved in this study.


No specific funding was received for this study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rhiannon Braund
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carolyn V. Coulter
    • 1
  • Amy Jane Bodington
    • 1
  • Lauren Margaret Giles
    • 1
  • Anna-Marie Greig
    • 1
  • Larissa Jane Heaslip
    • 1
  • Brooke Jane Marshall
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PharmacyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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