Evaluation of Patient and Family Engagement Strategies to Improve Medication Safety

Julia M. Kim, Catalina Suarez-Cuervo, Zackary Berger, Joy Lee, Jessica Gayleard, Carol Rosenberg, Natalia Nagy, Kristina Weeks, Sydney Dy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Patient and family engagement (PFE) is critical for patient safety. We systematically reviewed types of PFE strategies implemented and their impact on medication safety. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, reference lists and websites to August 2016. Two investigators independently reviewed all abstracts and articles, and articles were additionally reviewed by two senior investigators for selection. One investigator abstracted data and two investigators reviewed the data for accuracy. Study quality was determined by consensus. Investigators developed a framework for defining the level of patient engagement: informing patients about medications (Level 1), informing about engagement with health care providers (Level 2), empowering patients with communication tools and skills (Level 3), partnering with patients in their care (Level 4), and integrating patients as full care team members (Level 5). Results: We included 19 studies that mostly targeted older adults taking multiple medications. The median level of engagement was 2, ranging from 2–4. We identified no level 5 studies. Key themes for patient engagement strategies impacting medication safety were patient education and medication reconciliation, with a subtheme of patient portals. Most studies (84%) reported implementation outcomes. The most commonly reported medication safety outcomes were medication errors, including near misses and discrepancies (47%), and medication safety knowledge (37%). Most studies (63%) were of medium to low quality, and risk of bias was generally moderate. Among the 11 studies with control groups, 55% (n = 6) reported statistically significant improvement on at least one medication safety outcome. Further synthesis of medication safety measures was limited due to intervention and outcome heterogeneity. Conclusions: Key strategies for engaging patients in medication safety are education and medication reconciliation. Patient engagement levels were generally low, as defined by a novel framework for determining levels of patient engagement. As more patient engagement studies are conducted, this framework should be evaluated for associations with patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-206
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of Patient and Family Engagement Strategies to Improve Medication Safety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this