Julie M Lehn, R. Gerkin, S. Kisiel
May 21, 2019
Journal of palliative medicine
Objective: To establish a return on investment (ROI) for a pharmacist position on a hospital-based palliative care (PC) team. Background: Utilizing a pharmacist to provide PC services is often overlooked as a solution to physician shortages. Integration of a pharmacist into PC teams yields a favorable ROI. Methods: A 16-month retrospective review comparing PC patients at two hospitals with consultative PC teams. The PC teams at the two facilities had identical full-time equivalent team members, except for a PC pharmacist at Facility 1. The PC pharmacist's ROI was calculated based on cost savings created by utilizing the PC pharmacist as a physician extender and costs attributable to preventable adverse drug events (pADEs) identified by the PC pharmacist. Results: An annual ROI of 1.2 to 2.9 million dollars was calculated, $125,760 from physician time saved and $1.1-2.8 million dollars from pADEs. A statistically significant difference in rates of pADEs was realized between the PC pharmacist and non-PC pharmacists at Facility 1 as well as between pharmacists at Facility 1 (PC pharmacist and non-PC pharmacists) and pharmacists at Facility 2 (non-PC pharmacists). Conclusion: A PC pharmacist's unique qualifications and perspective contribute to the value of care provided to PC patients. A favorable ROI that exceeds a pharmacist's annual salary was demonstrated in this analysis.