Development and validation of a medication regimen complexity scoring tool for critically ill patients

Morgan E. Gwynn, Margaret O. Poisson, Jennifer L. Waller, Andrea Sikora Newsome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Purpose. The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a novel medication regimen complexity-intensive care unit (MRC-ICU) scoring tool in critically ill patients and to correlate MRC with illness severity and patient outcomes. Methods. This study was a single-center, retrospective observational chart review of adults admitted to the medical ICU (MICU) between November 2016 and June 2017. The primary aim was the development and internal validation of the MRC-ICU scoring tool. Secondary aims included external validation of the MRC-ICU and exploration of relationships between medication regimen complexity and patient outcomes. Exclusion criteria included a length of stay of less than 24 hours in the MICU, active transfer, or hospice orders at 24 hours. A total of 130 patient medication regimens were used to test, modify, and validate the MRC-ICU tool. Results. The 39-line item medication regimen complexity scoring tool was validated both internally and externally. Convergent validity was confirmed with total medications (p < 0.0001). Score discriminant validity was confirmed by lack of association with age (p = 0.1039) or sex (p = 0.7829). The MRC-ICU score was significantly associated with ICU length of stay (p = 0.0166), ICU mortality (p = 0.0193), and patient acuity (p < 0.0001). Conclusion. The MRC-ICU scoring tool was validated and found to correlate with length of stay, inpatient mortality, and patient acuity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzxy054
Pages (from-to)S34-S40
JournalAmerican Journal of Health-System Pharmacy
StatePublished - Mar 15 2019


  • Critical care
  • Drug therapy
  • Patient safety
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy
  • Scoring tool

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Health Policy


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