International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 33, Issue 6, pp 909–917 | Cite as

Review of the cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve seamless care focusing on medication

  • Steven SimoensEmail author
  • Anne Spinewine
  • Veerle Foulon
  • Dominique Paulus
Review Article


Aim of the review This review of the international literature aims to assess the evidence and its methodological quality relating to the cost-effectiveness of interventions to improve seamless care focusing on medication. Method Studies were identified by searching Medline, EMBASE, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination databases, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and EconLit up to March 2011 using search terms related to health economics and to seamless care. To be included, economic evaluations had to explore the costs and consequences of an intervention to improve seamless care focusing on medication as compared with usual care. Methodological quality of studies was assessed by considering perspective; design; source of clinical and economic data; cost and consequence measures; allowance for uncertainty; and incremental analysis. Costs were actualized to 2007 values. Results Eight studies on medication interventions for hospitalized patients in the transition between ambulatory and hospital care were included in the review. A variety of types of medication interventions and target populations have been assessed, but the evidence is limited to one economic evaluation for each particular intervention type and each specific target population. Most studies demonstrated an impact of interventions on compliance and (re)hospitalization rates and costs. The studies did not find an impact on quality of life or symptoms. Economic evaluations suffered from methodological limitations related to the narrow perspective; restriction to health care costs only; exclusion of costs of the intervention; use of intermediate consequence measures; no allowance for uncertainty; and absence of incremental analysis. Conclusion In light of the small number of economic evaluations and their methodological limitations, it is not possible to recommend a specific intervention to improve seamless care focusing on medication on health economic grounds.


Cost-effectiveness Medication management Seamless care Review 



Financial support for this research was received from the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, a state-funded research institution.

Conflicts of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven Simoens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anne Spinewine
    • 2
  • Veerle Foulon
    • 1
  • Dominique Paulus
    • 3
  1. 1.Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economics, KatholiekeUniversiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Center for Clinical PharmacyUniversité Catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Belgian Healthcare Knowledge CentreBrusselsBelgium

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