UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement

Title: Pharmacists Make a Difference

Keywords: Medication Errors, Pharmacy (PubMed Search)

Posted: 11/4/2023 by Brent King, MD (Updated: 7/14/2024)
Click here to contact Brent King, MD

Spanish investigators conducted a 6-month, prospective, observational study to determine the impact of emergency department pharmacists on medication errors. They specifically focused on so called "High Alert" medications and on errors that, if undetected prior to administration, were likely to have serious deleterious consequences.

Over the course of the study, the pharmacists reviewed the medication records and histories of nearly 3000 patients. The pharmacists intervened in the care of 557 patients. Errors were most often detected during the process of medication reconcilliation. Over half of the potential errors were considered "severe" and the majority of pharmacist interventions were deemed important to the patient's care. Many of the medication errors detected involved "High Alert" medications.

The Bottom Line: Pharmacists are integral members of a high-functioning emergency department team. Their specialized knowledge contributes to a safe and effective care environment.


Perez-Moreno MA, Rodriguez-Camacho JM, Calderon-Hernandez B, et al. Clinical relevance of pharmacist intervention in an emergency department. Emerg Med J. 2017;34:495-501. doi:10.1136/emermed-2015-204726.