Background: Clinical medication review (CMR) is a structured and collaborative service aimed at identifying and resolving medication-related problems (MRPs). This is the first systematic review of CMR research in Australia. Objective: To systematically review the processes and outcomes of CMR in community-settings in Australia. Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts (IPA), Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Cochrane Library and the grey literature were searched from 2000 to February 2015. All study designs were considered. Data extraction and quality assessment were performed independently by two investigators. Results: Nine controlled studies, 34 observational and uncontrolled studies, 11 qualitative studies (focus groups and interviews) and nine survey studies were included. The CMRs resulted in identification of MRPs (n = 15 studies, mean 3.6 MPRs per CMR) and improved adherence (n = 3). Reductions in numbers of medications prescribed (n = 3 studies), hospitalizations (n = 3), potentially inappropriate prescribing (n = 3) and costs (n = 6) were demonstrated. Comparisons to a control group, predominately non-recipients of CMR, were made in eleven of 43 studies. Evidence supports additional models that promote interprofessional collaboration and timely referral following hospital discharge. Qualitative research identified low awareness of CMR among eligible non-recipients, while benefits were perceived to outweigh barriers to implementation. Underserved populations include indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse people, recipients of palliative care, those recently discharged from hospital, people with poor medication adherence, those in rural and remote areas, older males, and younger people with long-term, persistent or serious health problems. Conclusion: The available evidence suggests CMR is beneficial in improving the quality use of medications and health outcomes. However, lack of comparator groups in many observational studies limited the strength of conclusions in relation to the impact on clinical outcomes. Addressing access gaps for underserved populations, implementing additional referral pathways, and facilitating greater collaboration between the health professionals represent opportunities for further improvement.
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