Pharmacists have been shown to be beneficial for inclusion in emergency department (ED) services; however, little has been done to assess these benefits with pharmacists having even wider scopes of practice, including limited prescribing authority. The aims of this study were to determine the proportion of ED visits that can potentially be managed by pharmacists, the most prevalent conditions within these cases, and the factors associated with patients presenting with such cases to the ED. This was a retrospective quantitative cohort study using administrative databases from 2010 to 2017. Among all unscheduled ED visits in Ontario, all visits with a Family Practice Sensitive Condition and Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale score of IV or V were identified, in addition to conditions that can be managed by pharmacists with expanded scope. Logistic regression was performed to identify determinants of having a potentially pharmacist-manageable condition. Of 34,550,020 ED visits identified, 12.4% (n = 4,293,807) were considered FPSC with CTAS IV or V. Of these, 1,494,887 (34.8%) were for conditions considered to be potentially manageable by pharmacists, representing 4.3% of all ED visits. The most frequent diagnoses observed were: acute pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, rash and other nonspecific skin eruption, otitis externa, cough, acute sinusitis, and dermatitis. Female gender, having a family physician or presenting with a CTAS of IV were associated with higher odds of presenting to the ED, while increased age and income were associated with lower odds. Under an expanded scope, pharmacists could potentially have managed nearly 1.5 million cases presenting to the ED over the study period. The introduction of ED-based or community pharmacists practicing under an expanded scope may have a positive impact on overcrowding in EDs.
Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
December 7, 2018