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Health system costs of potentially inappropriate prescribing in Ontario, Canada: a protocol for a population-based cohort study

Black CD, Thavorn K, Coyle D, Smith G, Bjerre LM. BMJ Open. 2018; 8(6):e021727. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Introduction — Adverse drug events (ADEs) are common in older persons and contribute significantly to emergency department visits, hospitalisations and mortality. ADEs are often due to potentially inappropriate prescriptions (PIP) or potentially inappropriate omissions (PIO), and are avoidable if inappropriate prescriptions or omissions are identified and prevented. Identifying PIP/PIO at the population level through the application of PIP/PIO assessment tools to health administrative data can provide a unique opportunity to assess the economic burden of PIP/PIO on the healthcare system beyond medication costs which is yet to be done. The objective of this study is to assess the economic burden associated with PIP/PIO and to estimate the incremental costs associated with distinct PIP/PIO in the province of Ontario.

Methods and Analysis — We will conduct a retrospective cohort study using Ontario's health administrative databases. Eligible patients aged 66 years and older who were prescribed at least one medication between 1 April 2003 and 31 March 2014 (approximately 2.4 million patients) will be included. Population attributable fraction methodology will be used to assess the overall burden of PIP in Ontario, while regression analyses will be used to estimate the incremental costs of having specific PIP criteria and aid in prioritising targets for intervention.

Ethics and Dissemination — This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada. Dissemination will occur via publication, presentation at national and international conferences, and knowledge exchange with various stakeholders.

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