Background Cooperation between the hospital sector and primary care is addressed under different names which hampers sharing and identifying existing practises and policies in this field.
Purpose To get a better understanding of the concept of medicines management at the interface of the hospital and primary care sectors (hereafter called interface management).
Materials and Methods Narrative literature review searching Medline, EMBASE, GoogleScholar, Web of Science (ISI), supplemented by hand searching (snowballing) to detect grey literature and contacts with policy makers, researchers and hospital pharmacists to identify further references. Search terms included interface (management), seamless care, continuous care, transitional care, transition in combination with medication, medicines, drugs and pharmaceuticals. Interventions that did not address medicines were excluded; the search period was 1990 to September 2012.
Results In English-language literature, the most commonly applied terms are seamless care, integrated care, comprehensive care, transmural care, transitional care and continuity of care for which, in most cases, generally accepted and repeatedly quoted definitions exist. A more recent terminology is ‘interface management’. In many cases, specific projects such as hospital discharge programmes are described without any explicit reference to overall concepts such as interface management or seamless care. Tools such as medicines reconciliation and/or patient counselling can be used to improve medicines management at the interface but they are not necessarily used as specific interface management measures.
Conclusions Even in the English-language literature, the mechanisms of cooperation between the hospital sector and the primary care are referred to under different names. It is recommended to include specific interface management measures as search terms in a literature review on interface management since overall concepts such as seamless care and interface management are likely to yield few results. Terminology work to increase clarity in this field is needed.
No conflict of interest.
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