The Emergency Pharmacist Research Center
This research is supported by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Partnerships in Patient Safety, Grant no. 1 U18 HS015818

This website provides the resources and results associated with the AHRQ-funded research program aimed at increasing the use of clinical pharmacists in emergency medicine. The project goals include providing a body of evidence to demonstrate the value of using emergency pharmacists in the emergency department.


The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists has provided several years of a Patient-Care Impact Program (PCIP) focused on emergency pharmacist programs, a 6-month, practice-based mentorship program for new or current emergency pharmacists or those (administrators or pharmacists) starting new clinical pharmacy programs in an emergency department. Over 80 Emergency Pharmacist programs have been initiated through the PCIP mentorship program. Click [here] to download a paper describes the first program.

Dr. Fairbanks is now Director of the National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, in Washington, DC. The Center, part of the MedStar Institute for Innovation, focuses on applying system safety engineering methods to healthcare. More information is available at and

A paper describing the first year of the PCIP Emergency Pharmacist program is available in the American Journal of Health System Pharmacy. [link to article] (access required) or email us to request reprint.

Dr. Hays co-authored a paper published in the Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal illustrating the benefits of a pharmacist in the ED. [link to article]

See the Publicity Page for new relevant journal articles and news items  regarding emergency pharmacist programs in the news.

A sampling of items available on the Resources and Toolkit page:


Involvement of clinical pharmacists in patient care in the inpatient hospital setting has been shown to result in safer and more effective medication use. These pharmacists are involved in assuring appropriate prescribing and administration, monitoring patient adherence to therapy, providing drug information consultation to providers, monitoring patient responses and laboratory values, and providing patient education.

Emergency department (ED)- based clinical pharmacy services are relatively rare. This is likely due to the unique and complex nature of the ED. The paucity of ED-based clinical pharmacy services is perplexing given that the 1999 Institute of Medicine report To Err is Human found that the ED had the highest rate of preventable adverse events among clinical environments studied, with a potential of 3.8 million events thought to be preventable each year.

Adverse drug events that occur in the ED are a significant public health problem in the US, particularly for the older adult patient population. Published reports have asserted that ED-based pharmacists have the potential to increase quality of care in the ED. But although this concept appears logical, no scientific study has been undertaken to demonstrate that these programs reduce preventable adverse drug events and improve quality of care in the ED.

This project borrows ideals from the human factors engineering/safety science “systems approach” by allowing specialization of services and adding layers of redundancy to help prevent medication errors from effecting the patients.