Economic, clinical, and humanistic outcomes (ECHOs) of pharmaceutical care services for minority patients: A literature review.
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BACKGROUND: The U.S. population of racial/ethnic minorities continues to increase; however, health disparities and poor health outcomes among many of them continue to be a major public health problem confronting the U.S. health care system. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this review was to summarize published pharmaceutical care services literature reporting economic, clinical, and/or humanistic outcomes (ECHOs) among racial/ethnic minorities. Studies that reported differences by race/ethnicity and studies where most participants were from multiracial/ethnic minorities were included. METHODS: PubMed and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts databases were searched for articles that reported the effects of pharmaceutical care on ECHOs among racial/ethnic minorities published between January 1980 and November 2010. The literature review was focused on racial groups that included black/African-American, Native American, Indian American Asian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander patients, and ethnic group that was non-white Hispanic/Latino patients. RESULTS: There were 24 articles that studied the impact of pharmaceutical care on ECHOs by race/ethnicity or where most participants were from multiracial/ethnic minorities. Twenty-three studies reported that pharmaceutical care has a positive impact on health outcomes of the studied populations. About half of the studies meeting inclusion criteria evaluated only 1 type of patient outcome, primarily clinical outcomes. Education/consultation and medication/therapy management were the most commonly evaluated types of pharmaceutical care services throughout the studied groups. Comprehensive disease management was evaluated mainly in multiracial/ethnic populations and blacks/African-Americans. Few studies adopted randomized controlled designs, which make it difficult to attribute changes in patient outcomes to the provision of pharmaceutical care. Nine studies that involved cooperation between pharmacists and other medical professionals reflect an increased tendency for interprofessional collaboration in the current health care system. CONCLUSION: This review shows that there is a positive relationship between pharmaceutical care and ECHOs in patients from racial/ethnic minority groups. However, more studies are needed to document the effects of pharmaceutical care on reducing racial/ethnic health disparities and to determine which interventions are most effective among certain groups with health disparities.Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.