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Assessing the quality of drug information provided by hospital pharmacies using a fictitious enquiry and simulated real-life conditions
  1. Dorothea Strobach1,
  2. Ute Blassmann2,
  3. Sigrun Gundl3,
  4. Sabine Krebs4,
  5. Christiane Querbach5,
  6. Carolin Schuhmacher6,
  7. Claudia Langebrake7,8
  1. 1 Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Munich, Munich, Germany
  2. 2 Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  3. 3 Arzneimittelinformation, Landesapotheke, Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
  4. 4 Erlangen University Hospital, Pharmacy Department, Erlangen, Germany
  5. 5 Hospital Pharmacy Department, Klinikum rechts der Isar der Technischen Universitat Munchen, Munchen, Bayern, Germany
  6. 6 Hospital Pharmacy, Schwarzwald-Baar Hospital Villingen-Schwenningen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  7. 7 Hospital Pharmacy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  8. 8 Department of Stem Cell Transplantation, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dorothea Strobach, Hospital Pharmacy, University Hospital Munich, 81377 Munich, Germany; dorothea.strobach{at}


Objectives Guidelines for drug information (DI) provided by hospital pharmacists call for quality assurance procedures; however, no method of evaluation is internationally agreed on. The procedure should be feasible, reproducible and representative for real-life quality. We tested a new approach using a fictitious enquiry under simulated real-life conditions for quality assessment of DI by German hospital pharmacists.

Methods A fictitious enquiry was submitted under simulated real-life conditions (study part I; test week announced, but not exact day; response time given). An expert panel determined content-related (three essential, and up to seven additional items of useful information) and structural requirements for answers and performed blinded evaluations. To compare quality of routine DI answers (study part II), five recently answered routine enquiries could retrospectively be evaluated for plausibility (binary scale 0/1) and structural requirements.

Results Of 62 hospital pharmacies opting to participate, 45 (71%) entered study part I and 18 (40%) entered study part II. In study part I, 28 participants (62%) presented three essential contents, 11 (24%) two, five (11%) one, and one none. Additional useful information was given in 44–80%. Structural requirements achieved mixed results with low scores for logical conclusion deduction and reference presentation. In study part II, plausibility for the 90 recently answered routine enquiries was rated good (median 0.91, range 0.53–1). Concerning structural requirements, overall comparable results were achieved with minor variations compared with study part I. Thus, the quality of DI was judged to be comparable between study parts I and II.

Conclusions An open quality assessment procedure with a fictitious enquiry under simulated real-life conditions can successfully be used for quality measurement of DI of hospital pharmacists and identifies areas for improvement.

  • pharmacy service
  • hospital
  • quality assurance
  • health care
  • organization and administration
  • professional competence
  • documentation

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request.

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