Overcoming barriers to monitoring patients taking second-generation antipsychotics


Introduction: Patients taking second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are at increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome because of the side effect profiles of these medications. A medication use evaluation (MUE) was conducted and showed that baseline monitoring rates of metabolic parameters in patients taking SGAs are low. A pharmacist-run metabolic syndrome monitoring clinic (MSMC) is available to mental health (MH) outpatients; however, the clinic is underused by providers. The purpose of this project was to increase baseline metabolic syndrome monitoring rates in patients taking SGAs by implementing interventions to overcome barriers to monitoring and to accessing the MSMC.

Methods: Appropriate tools to improve monitoring were obtained, and an electronic consult for the MSMC was created. A presentation and pamphlet were developed to improve awareness. Information about free patient transportation was obtained and distributed. Efficacy was assessed by evaluating patient referrals to the clinic before and after intervention, comparing baseline monitoring rates after implementation with the MUE data, and administering an anonymous survey to outpatient MH providers.

Results: There was a 37.5% increase in overall referral rates to the MSMC after intervention, but only 51.5% of patients attended appointments as scheduled. Monitoring of vital signs increased, but monitoring of laboratory parameters decreased. A total of 60% (9 of 15) of providers completed a survey, of which one third indicated they still forget to refer patients to the MSMC.

Discussion: Overall, baseline metabolic monitoring rates remained low despite implementing several interventions. Patient and provider outreach is crucial for initiating and maintaining a successful metabolic monitoring system for patients taking SGAs.

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