Reducing Inappropriate Medication Use by Implementing Deprescribing Guidelines

McCarthy D. Reducing Inappropriate Medication Use by Implementing Deprescribing Guidelines. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2017.

A multidisciplinary team of clinical experts in Ottawa, Canada, created a credible, low-cost process for developing and implementing evidence-based deprescribing guidelines and tools for assessing, tapering, and stopping medications that may cause harm or no longer benefit patients. Although the guidelines led primary care teams to consider approaches for identifying such medications and engaging patients in conversations about discontinuing them, the intervention has thus far been more successful in long-term care settings, where it strengthened team-based medication reviews in fulfillment of routine quality improvement and reporting requirements.


The Commonwealth Fund, in collaboration IHI, established the International Program for US Health Care System Innovation to identify promising frontline delivery system approaches to health care from abroad that might be transferred to the United States to improve quality of care, control costs, and increase value. This case study presents one of the four selected innovations for which a site visit was conducted, describing the innovation in the local context and discussing considerations for implementing the innovation in the US health care system.

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