Can Doctors Predict Risk of Medication Harm in Older Patients?

by Adeline Dorcas on  July 3, 2018 at 2:43 PM Research News
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New study has examined whether doctors can identify which older patients will experience Medication-related harm (MRH) requiring care after hospital discharge and whether clinical experience and confidence in prediction influence the accuracy of predictions. The findings of the study are published in British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Can Doctors Predict Risk of Medication Harm in Older Patients?
Can Doctors Predict Risk of Medication Harm in Older Patients?

Medication-related harm (MRH) is common in older adults following hospital discharge. The study found that clinical judgment of doctors is not a reliable tool to predict MRH in older adults post-discharge.

In the multicentre observational prospective study involving five teaching hospitals in England between September 2013 and November 2015, there were 1066 patients with completed predictions and follow-up. Doctors discharging older patients from medical wards predicted the likelihood of their patient experiencing MRH requiring care in the initial 8 week period post-discharge.

Most predictions (85%) were made by junior doctors with less than 5 years' clinical experience. There was no relationship between doctors' predictions and patient MRH, irrespective of years of clinical experience. Doctors' predictions were more likely to be accurate when they reported higher confidence in their prediction, especially in predicting MRH-associated hospital readmissions.

"These findings confirm the complexity of predicting medication-related harm. This makes it very challenging to target medication-related strategies to the right individuals," said Dr. Khalid Ali, chief investigator of the study and senior lecturer in Geriatrics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School.

"Clinical pharmacology and therapeutics teaching have not been particularly prominent in undergraduate medical training. This is perhaps an area requiring review, given an ageing population that is prescribed ever-increasing quantities of medicine." Dr. Ali added that there is a need to consider new approaches to identify individuals at high risk of medication-related harm given its serious impact on patients and healthcare services.

Source: Eurekalert

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