When considering subspecialties of clinical pharmacy practice such as the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), no key performance indicators (KPIs) or practice standards have been published by national or international pharmacy organisations.
Aim: The aims of this study were to identify: (1) a list of essential pharmacist roles that should be performed in the NICU; and (2) a set of clinical pharmacy KPIs that can be used to benchmark the quality of pharmaceutical care provided to patients in Australian NICU settings.
A modified Delphi technique was used to send 65 indicators and 30 proposed roles to an expert panel of doctors, pharmacists and nurses. The indicators and roles were compiled from a previously conducted literature review. An online survey sent in two consecutive Delphi rounds in August and September 2017 asked experts to rank the indicators and roles against specific criteria.
Fifteen healthcare professionals from Australia participated as expert panellists. Overall, 75% consensus was reached for 31 indicators and 23 roles by Australian panellists. Experts particularly valued the following roles: pharmacists being a source of medication information (100%; median = 1.00), assisting in off-label prescribing (100%; median = 1.00), documenting medication errors (100%; median = 1.00), medication chart review (100%; median = 1.00) and writing medication protocols for the NICU (100%; median = 1.00).
Further investigations are needed to formalise a set of NICU-specific clinical pharmacy KPIs and a practice model to form the foundations of national and international standardised practice guidelines for this subspecialty.