Economic Impact of Increased Clinical Intervention Rates in Community Pharmacy: A Randomised Trial of the Effect of Education and a Professional Allowance
Shalom I. Benrimoj
Jane H. Langford
Objective: To determine the economic impact of an interventional programme aimed to increase the rate of clinical interventions undertaken in community pharmacy. Study design and perspective: A randomised controlled trial of 4 parallel groups of pharmacies, conducted from a government perspective. Economic evaluations were based on savings/costs attributable to healthcare costs avoided, healthcare costs incurred by the pharmacists' actions, change in medication costs, pharmacy time and telephone calls made by the pharmacist. The study was conducted during November and December 1996 and costings were based on 1997 figures. Interventions: A professional fee-for-service [10 Australian dollars ($A; $A1 = 6.50 US dollars) per intervention] and education (an intensive 1-week course or advanced education) were implemented in an attempt to increase clinical interventions by the pharmacists. Group A pharmacies (n = 10) served as a control group and received neither education nor remuneration; group B received education and professional remuneration (n = 9); group C had received prior continued education and now received advanced education and professional remuneration (n = 11); and group D received professional remuneration with no education. Main outcome measures and results: The proactive clinical interventions in group C saved a mean of $A85.35 per 1000 prescriptions [95% confidence interval (CI) -$A157.11 to $A24.95). This was 4 times greater than savings generated by pharmacies in group B (mean savings of $A25.65 per 1000 prescriptions) and 6 times greater than control pharmacies. A sensitivity analysis which extrapolated results to Australian prescription figures showed that the control group was capable of generating savings in the order of $A2.4 million per year while pharmacists in group C would save the healthcare system $A15 million per year. Conclusions: These results provide the first economic estimates for the provision of clinical interventions in Australian community pharmacies. It is believed that they illustrate the value of pharmaceutical services to the healthcare system and to the Australian community in terms of both quality of care and savings.
Cost analysis, Medical education, Pharmacoeconomics, Prescribing
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