Development of an obstetrics triage tool for pharmacists in an urban medical centre

J. R. Covvey, J. Grant, A. B. Mullen

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Obstetrics services are a high-throughput and high-risk environment poised for pharmacist involvement, but determining how to ideally allocate services is difficult. There is recent interest in the development of tools for service prioritisation, but none are specifically targeted to obstetrics. Therefore, the aim of this study was (1) to conduct a practice audit surveying the demographics of patients attending obstetrics wards at a high-capacity maternity hospital, and (2) to evaluate a triage tool developed to prioritise pharmacy services. A retrospective case review of women discharged after birth admissions was undertaken at a hospital in National Health Service (NHS) Scotland during June 2014. Demographic and admission data were collected, as well as pharmacist interventions and missed opportunities in patient care on postnatal wards. A pharmacy triage tool was developed and retrospectively applied to each case to ascertain a risk category that would trigger and target pharmacist review. Interventions/opportunities were classified as either clinical (medication-related) or administrative (potential for error development). 175 cases were reviewed with a median age of 29 years old. Eighty-six patients (49.1%) were retrospectively classified with elevated risk using the triage tool. A total of 117 charts (66.9%) were identified with missed opportunities for pharmacist intervention, which was significantly higher among patients classified as higher risk (75.6 vs. 58.4%, p=0.017). Compared to low risk patients, patients with a higher risk classification had lower rates of administrative missed opportunities (55.4 vs. 80.8%, p=0.015), but numerically higher rates of clinical (26.2 vs. 9.6%, p=NS) and mixed clinical/administrative (18.5 vs. 9.6%, p=NS) missed opportunities, although this failed to reach statistical significance. Evaluation of a triage tool for obstetric services demonstrated potential for prioritising higher risk patients for pharmacist review and addressing opportunities for clinical improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539–544
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
Issue number5
Early online date25 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2015


  • pregnancy
  • maternity
  • triage
  • risk assessment


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