The Effect of Clinical Pharmacists on Readmission Rates of Heart Failure Patients in the Accountable Care Environment.
J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2018 Aug;24(8):795-799
Authors: Schumacher C, Moaddab G, Colbert M, Kliethermes MA
BACKGROUND: Recent changes in the health care delivery landscape have expanded opportunities for clinical pharmacists in the ambulatory care setting. This article describes the successful integration of a clinical pharmacist-led chronic disease management service in a patient-centered medical home (PCMH) and accountable care organization (ACO) environment.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: In 2008, the year before PCMH implementation, 36% of patients who were hospitalized at Advocate Trinity Hospital for a heart failure exacerbation were readmitted within 30 days of their hospital stay for heart failure exacerbation. This high rate of heart failure hospital readmissions, compared with national standards, drove the implementation of the PCMH at Advocate Medical Group - Southeast Center (AMG-SE), the adjoining outpatient medical clinic. A clinical pharmacist was added to the health care team to help achieve the collective goal of improving patient outcomes and decreasing hospitalizations.
OBSERVATIONS: From November 1, 2009, through August 30, 2010, the clinical pharmacist conducted visits and intervened in the care of 111 chronic heart failure patients. A pre/post analysis of those 111 patients during the 10 months before and after the integration of the clinical pharmacist showed that those patients were hospitalized 63 times in the 10 months before having regularly scheduled visits with the clinical pharmacist and 30 times in the 10 months after establishing care. This reduction from 63 to 30 visits translated to an approximate 50% decrease in heart failure hospitalizations in patients being followed by the clinical pharmacist within the first 10 months. Once the clinical pharmacist became better integrated into the workflow through development of rapport with the medical team, the outcomes improved further. In an 18-month analysis from May 1, 2010, through November 30, 2011, only 2% of patients (3 of 153) designated as high-risk patients managed by the clinical pharmacist had a 30-day readmission for heart failure exacerbation.
IMPLICATIONS: Outcomes-based models have expanded opportunities for clinical pharmacist involvement and can provide unique reimbursement options. Demonstration of cost savings and an improvement in quality measures are paramount to establishing and justifying the clinical pharmacist's role in a team-based model of care.
DISCLOSURES: No outside funding supported this research. The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
PMID: 30058987 [PubMed - in process]