Medication reviews are a structured clinical intervention with the general goals of improving patient drug knowledge and detecting and resolving drug-related problems in an individual patient’s medication regimen. A variety of barriers entrenched in the traditional drug distribution and dispensing model of pharmacy business has continued to challenge the implementation efforts of medication review services worldwide in the community pharmacy setting.

Main objectives

i) Characterize original research studies that sought to enhance medication review service implementation in community pharmacy settings. ii) Categorize the broader corpus of scientific literature (beyond original implementation studies) on medication review service implementation in community pharmacy settings.


A broad systematic search strategy was applied to ovid MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and Cochrane Library to create an over-arching view and extensively ordered bibliography of the diverse research publication types dealing with the topic of medication review service implementation in the community pharmacy setting. A scoping review was subsequently conducted on original research studies that utilized various strategies to enhance the implementation of this service in community pharmacies. Data-charting evaluated the location of implementation studies, the strategies undertaken, the scale of implementation strategies, the use of DII (Dissemination, Implementation and Improvement) science theory, sample sizes, and DII outcomes.


Of 5947 records screened, 419 fulfilled the inclusion criteria (from abstract screening) to be deemed suitable for categorization and inclusion into the broader survey on this topic. Of these 419 publications, only 75 were original research specifically focused on enhancing the implementation of medication reviews in community pharmacy. A large majority of the publications were qualitative studies (n = 203). The remaining articles were improvement studies (n = 36), descriptive observational studies (n = 49), reviews (n = 69) and methodology papers (n = 16). Twenty-nine of these articles were deemed suitable for inclusion in more than one category. After full-text screening, 41 of the 75 implementation publications, representing 40 original studies, published between 1999 and 2019, were eligible for data-charting. The majority of these studies occurred in North America (n = 30), used some form of education as the most common implementation strategy (n = 22) and measured ‘adoption’ (extent or frequency of medication reviews delivered) most frequently as an implementation outcome (n = 30). Just over half of the studies used a multi-faceted implementation strategy (n = 21). Only 9 studies used a theory, model or framework at any point in the research process to test hypotheses or explain empirical findings.


There is an abundance of publications addressing various issues surrounding medication review implementation in community pharmacies. However, the literature appears disproportionately represented by qualitative studies. There is also a need for more rigorously conducted implementation studies on medication review services in community pharmacy.