Student Pharmacists Exhibit High Accuracy Rates for Medication Histories


Student pharmacists can accurately and efficiently acquire medication histories for patients admitted to a large academic hospital, reducing the workload of the clinical staff, according to research presented at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exposition (December 3-7, 2017; Orlando, FL).

Trainees were also able to efficiently perform a large number of medication histories, reducing the workload of the clinical staff and benefitting the pharmacy education curriculum.

Mary Hatcher, PharmD, and Christopher Chapleau, PharmD, medication history pharmacists at University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Medicine (Birmingham, AL), reviewed medication histories compiled by student pharmacists at UAB Hospital between September 2016 and March 2017. The study included data from 304 patients, who reported intake of 2174 individual medications (average home medication list, n = 7). Student pharmacists completed histories in a median time of 9.2 minutes.

Drs Hatcher and Chapleau found a total of 92 errors, which translated to one error for every 24 medications reviewed. The accuracy rate of student pharmacistsdefined as the percentage of medication histories containing no errors and suitable for use in reconciliationwas 80%. According to the researchers, previous students have shown pharmacist accuracy rates of 90.1% and nursing accuracy rates of 27.7%.

Commonly observed errors included incomplete medication lists (n = 53), duplicate medications (n = 23), inaccurate medications (n = 11), and missing medications (n = 5).


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The researchers further studied student pharmacist capture rates, which they defined by the percentage of patients admitted during weekdays, when students were on rotation. They found that student pharmacists had a capture rate of 43%.

“This takes a large workload away from multiple members of the clinical staff and allows them to devote time to other tasks,” Drs Hatcher and Chapleau wrote. “This process also benefits the pharmacy student by providing direct patient contact and care.”Cameron Kelsall