Background: Insufficient information transfer is a major barrier in the transition from hospital to home. This study describes the systematic development and evaluation of an intervention to improve medication information transfer between hospital and community pharmacists.
Objective: To develop and evaluate an intervention to improve the medication information transfer between hospital and community pharmacists based on patients', community and hospital pharmacists’ needs.
Methods: The intervention development and evaluation was guided by the six-step Intervention Mapping (IM) approach: (1) needs assessment to identify determinants of the problem, with a scoping review and focus groups with patients and healthcare providers, (2) formulation of intervention objectives with an expert group, (3) inventory of communication models to design the intervention, (4) using literature review and qualitative research with pharmacists and patients to develop the intervention (5) pilot-testing of the intervention in two hospitals, and (6) a qualitative evaluation of the intervention as part of a multicenter before-after study with hospital and community pharmacists.
Results: Barriers in the information transfer are mainly time and content related. The intervention was designed to target a complete, accurate and timely medication information transfer between hospital and community pharmacists. A pharmaceutical discharge letter was developed to improve medication information transfer. Hospital and community pharmacists were positive about the usability, content, and comprehensiveness of the pharmaceutical discharge letter, which gave community pharmacists sufficient knowledge about in-hospital medication changes. However, hospital pharmacists reported that it was time-consuming to draft the discharge letter and not always feasible to send it on time. The intervention showed that pharmacists are positive about the usability, content and comprehensiveness.
Conclusion: This study developed an intervention systematically to improve medication information transfer, consisting of a discharge letter to be used by hospital and community pharmacists supporting continuity of care.