J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2021 Dec 18:S1544-3191(21)00552-5. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2021.12.005. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Although hospital readmission rates are declining nationally, avoidable readmissions remain a public health concern. Effective readmission interventions are multifaceted and include discharge planning and transition-of-care coordination. Clinical pharmacists are effective contributors to these processes, bringing expertise to discharge counseling, medication reconciliation, medication adherence, and postdischarge follow-up counseling.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the impact of adding health plan clinical pharmacy management services to an existing discharge program on all-cause readmissions and postdischarge primary physician visits.
METHOD: Pharmacy management services by health plan clinical pharmacists of a large regional integrated delivery system were added to an existing optimal discharge planning (ODP) program. Criteria for eligibility for these pharmacists' services included patients who prescribed a new maintenance medication after discharge, received a therapeutic substitution, had a previous discharge within 30 days, or were taking a high-risk medication. A retrospective, observational analysis of a subgroup of patients, who received the pharmacy management services as part of ODP, was performed using a difference-in-difference model, by comparing propensity-matched discharges from February 22, 2016, to January 31, 2017 (preprogram implementation) with discharges from February 22, 2017, to January 31, 2018 (implementation period), to estimate changes in 30-day readmission rates and postdischarge primary physician visits.
RESULTS: A total of 111 of the propensity matched received the pharmacy management services; of these, 73% (ODP) versus 64% (non-ODP) were ≥ 58 years, 60% were females, and 62% (ODP) versus 52% (non-ODP) were Medicare beneficiaries. There was a 16.7% (P = 0.022) statistically significant reduction in combined inpatient and observation 30-day readmissions and a 19.7% increase in 5-day postdischarge follow-up physician visits (P = 0.037) for the subgroup who also received the pharmacy management services.
CONCLUSION: Addition of pharmacist management services to an existing hospital discharge program for select at-risk patients was associated with reduced inpatient and observation 30-day readmissions.