Methods: A cost-effectiveness decision analytic model was developed using a health care system perspective based on published clinical trials. Costs included direct medical costs, and the effectiveness unit was patients discharged without suffering a subsequent adverse drug event. A systematic review of published studies was conducted to estimate variable probabilities in the cost-effectiveness model. To test the robustness of the results, a second-order probabilistic sensitivity analysis (Monte Carlo simulation) was used to run 10 000 cases through the model sampling across all distributions simultaneously.
Results: Pharmacist counseling at hospital discharge provided a small, but statistically significant, clinical improvement at a similar overall cost. Pharmacist counseling was cost saving in approximately 48% of scenarios and in the remaining scenarios had a low willingness-to-pay threshold for all scenarios being cost-effective. In addition, discharge counseling was more cost-effective in the high-risk elderly population compared to the general population.
Conclusion: This cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that discharge counseling by pharmacists is quite cost-effective and estimated to be cost saving in over 48% of cases. High-risk elderly patients appear to especially benefit from these pharmacist services.
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