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Impact of Medicines Helplines on patient satisfaction, patient outcomes and medicines safety for hospital patients: the development of a rating scale and an evaluation of patients’ opinions


Objective To develop a rating scale and assess the impact of advice from Medicines Helplines on patient outcomes, medicine-related risks and patient satisfaction.

Methods All patients who contacted two hospital pharmacy Medicines Helplines during the study were invited to complete a questionnaire about their experience of the helpline service and the outcome following the advice. A rating scale was developed and an expert panel of Medicines Information (MI) pharmacists rated the impact of the helpline advice on patient care or outcomes and risk/safety.

Results Of 111 questionnaires sent to patients, 67 were completed (60% response rate). The majority of patients said they would use the service again (96%; 64/67), 81% (54/67) felt more reassured after calling the helpline and 61% (41/67) rated the service excellent (highest rating). The majority followed the advice (93%, 62/67), of which 19% (12/62) reported improved health or cure as a result. The consensus of an independent expert panel found that helpline advice had a positive impact on patient outcomes in 74% (46/62) of cases, and on medication safety in 71% (44/62). The rating scale was used successfully and validated.

Conclusions The validated rating scale is a useful tool for rating the impact of MI advice on patient outcomes and medication-related risks. The Medicines Helplines had a positive impact on patient outcomes according to patients and the expert panel. The panel found patients reduced the risk of harm from their medicines when advice was followed. Patients valued the service as an easily accessible source of useful information about medicines.

  • evidence based medicine
  • telemedicine
  • hospital pharmacy competencies
  • hospital pharmacy education
  • clinical pharmacy

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