iSIMPATHY project evaluation - pharmacy-led medication reviews to address appropriate polypharmacy, improve outcomes and reduce waste.

Emily Kennedy
Emily Kennedy • 18 January 2024

The evaluation of iSIMPATHY, a Scottish Government led EU funded cross border project supporting people taking multiple medicines has been released.

The report highlights how the project improved patient outcomes, care and safety whilst delivering significant benefits to the wider healthcare system, including cost savings and reduction of waste. Running across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the border areas of the Republic of Ireland, iSIMPATHY delivered transformational change at scale through partnership working and sharing of expertise.

Using a multidisciplinary collaborative approach centred around pharmacist-led medicines reviews, this innovative project ensured the best and most sustainable outcomes with medication use in people taking multiple medicines.

Key findings of the report include:

  • 82% of interventions were rated clinically significant, while 4% of interventions (968) potentially prevented major organ failure or adverse drug reactions of similar clinical importance
  • the appropriateness of medicines improved in 92% of reviews, with an average reduction of one medicine (from 12 to 11)
  • economic benefits to the wider healthcare system were identified, with direct medicines cost savings of £13,100 and a potential total of £168,800 savings from avoided healthcare resource usage per 100 reviews
  • patients reported better understanding of their medicines, improved adherence and experienced less harm
  • an average of 7.4 Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALY) were gained per 100 patients

An overview of the findings is included in the attached infographic with the full report available at

iSIMPATHY has set a blueprint for undertaking reviews for people taking multiple medicines and will have implications in practice in work across NHS Scotland, with work already underway to embed the successful models used by the project in medicines reviews and Patient Reported Outcome Measures which gather views of persons receiving service. An accredited training package on undertaking comprehensive polypharmacy reviews for multidisciplinary professionals is also available on Turas. The findings will be further applied in practice in our polypharmacy work and forthcoming updated Polypharmacy Guidance, to ensure value and sustainability in healthcare and person-centred care in line with realistic medicine.

We would encourage you to read the report and ask if you could cascade to your networks as we look to share and take the next steps to implement the learning from this award-winning project.

Please contact the Effective Prescribing and Therapeutics division ( if you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of the report or the current work to implement comprehensive polypharmacy reviews.


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