Eric Lavonas, MD, an emergency physician from Denver Health and a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians believes the problem in the U.S. is worse than the research shows from Canada.
"Because this study was conducted in Canada, most of the patients had a primary care physician, and most received all their medication from a single doctor. But in the US, patients often see multiple specialists who do not coordinate care with each other or the primary care physician," Dr. Lavonas says. "As eye-opening as this study is, I'm sure that the opportunity for improvement is even greater in the US than this study shows."
Working with EDs, the research team is developing different strategies that will help them more quickly recognize drug-related adverse events.
"We are currently looking into a tool that nurses can use that will allow them to triage the patient and identify who the high risk patients are," Dr. Hohl said. "They will [ask] several questions that will classify the patient into a high or low risk group using variables such as the number of co-morbid conditions, if the patient has had a medication change, or been on antibiotics recently."