Effectiveness and cost effectiveness of pharmacist input at the ward level: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Dalia M Dawoud, Maria Smyth, Joanna Ashe, Thomas Strong, David Wonderling, Jennifer Hill, Mihir Varia, Philip Dyer, Julian Bion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Background Pharmacists play important role in ensuring timely care delivery at the ward level. The optimal level of pharmacist input, however, is not clearly defined. Objective To systematically review the evidence that assessed the outcomes of ward pharmacist input for people admitted with acute or emergent illness. Methods The protocol and search strategies were developed with input from clinicians. Medline, EMBASE, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, The Cochrane Library, NHS Economic Evaluations, Health Technology Assessment and Health Economic Evaluations databases were searched. Inclusion criteria specified the population as adults and young people (age >16 years) who are admitted to hospital with suspected or confirmed acute or emergent illness. Only randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in English were eligible for inclusion in the effectiveness review. Economic studies were limited to full economic evaluations and comparative cost analysis. Included studies were quality-assessed. Data were extracted, summarised. and meta-analysed, where appropriate. Results Eighteen RCTs and 7 economic studies were included. The RCTs were from USA (n=3), Sweden (n=2), Belgium (n=2), China (n=2), Australia (n=2), Denmark (n=2), Northern Ireland, Norway, Canada, UK and Netherlands. The economic studies were from UK (n=2), Sweden (n=2), Belgium and Netherlands. The results showed that regular pharmacist input was most cost effective. It reduced length-of-stay (mean= -1.74 days [95% CI: -2.76, -0.72], and increased patient and/or carer satisfaction (Relative Risk (RR) =1.49 [1.09, 2.03] at discharge). At £20,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)-gained cost-effectiveness threshold, it was either cost-saving or cost-effective (Incremental Cost Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) =£632/ QALY-gained). No evidence was found for 7-day pharmacist presence. Conclusions Pharmacist inclusion in the ward multidisciplinary team improves patient safety and satisfaction and is cost-effective when regularly provided throughout the ward stay. Research is needed to determine whether the provision of 7-day service is cost-effective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date19 Oct 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2018


  • Acute medicine
  • Clinical pharmacy
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Meta-analysis
  • Systematic review


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