Examining the use of network meta-analysis in pharmacy services research: A systematic review

Kah Woon Teoh, Tahir Mehmood Khan, Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, Shaun Wen Huey Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Pharmacists play an important role in supporting the health care needs of the public, and various studies have examined the impact of pharmacy services on patient care. This systematic review aimed to describe studies evaluating the impact of pharmacy services by means of network meta-analyses. 

Data sources: A systematic literature review of network meta-analyses examining pharmacy services was performed on PubMed, Embase, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews from database inception to November 30, 2018. 

Study selection: Network meta-analyses that examined the comparative effectiveness of pharmacy services (where pharmacists provide patient care to optimize patient outcomes) in any population, country, or setting. 

Data extraction: Data were independently extracted by 2 authors with the use of a standardized extraction form. The methodologic quality of articles was assessed with the use of the Cochrane Risk of Bias in Systematic Reviews tool. 

Results: Two network meta-analysis studies were identified. The first study compared 53 randomized controlled trials evaluating the effectiveness of transitional care services among discharged patients with heart failure. The study found that pharmacist interventions such as medication reconciliation, patient education, and medication optimization had little impact on improving the all-cause mortality and readmission rate in these patients. The second report compared 43 randomized controlled trials examining the efficacy of pharmacist-based diabetes educational interventions with or without pharmaceutical care on people with type 2 diabetes. It was reported that pharmacy services were effective in reducing glycosylated hemoglobin among people with type 2 diabetes, with larger effect sizes observed when these services involved a combination of 2 or more pharmacy services. 

Conclusion: This study demonstrated a paucity of studies using network meta-analysis techniques in evaluating pharmacist-provided services. This could be due to the lack of confidence in using this method, because network meta-analysis requires several additional assumptions that require careful consideration while performing the analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-791.e1
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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