OBJECTIVES: To determine the extent to which the use of a clinical informatics tool that implements prospective monitoring plans reduces the incidence of potential delirium, falls, hospitalizations potentially due to adverse drug events, and mortality.
DESIGN: Randomized cluster trial.
SETTING: Twenty-five nursing homes serviced by two long-term care pharmacies.
PARTICIPANTS: Residents living in nursing homes during 2003 (1,711 in 12 intervention; 1,491 in 13 usual care) and 2004 (1,769 in 12 intervention; 1,552 in 13 usual care).
INTERVENTION: The pharmacy automatically generated Geriatric Risk Assessment MedGuide (GRAM) reports and automated monitoring plans for falls and delirium within 24 hours of admission or as part of the normal time frame of federally mandated drug regimen review.
MEASUREMENTS: Incidence of potential delirium, falls, hospitalizations potentially due to adverse drug events, and mortality.
RESULTS: GRAM triggered monitoring plans for 491 residents. Newly admitted residents in the intervention homes experienced a lower rate of potential delirium onset than those in usual care homes (adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=0.42, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.35–0.52), overall hospitalization (adjusted HR=0.89, 95% CI=0.72–1.09), and mortality (adjusted HR=0.88, 95% CI=0.66–1.16). In longer stay residents, the effects of the intervention were attenuated, and all estimates included unity.
CONCLUSION: Using health information technology in long-term care pharmacies to identify residents who might benefit from the implementation of prospective medication monitoring care plans when complex medication regimens carry potential risks for falls and delirium may reduce adverse effects associated with appropriate medication use.