J Pharm Technol. 2023 Oct;39(5):207-211. doi: 10.1177/87551225231187832. Epub 2023 Jul 21.
Background: Transition of care (TOC) refers to the movement of patients between different health care settings due to changes in medical conditions and needs. Pharmacists can play an important role in TOC services as polypharmacy is a common reason for hospital readmission that costs the US taxpayers an average of $17 billion annually. Objective: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the impact of TOC telehealth services provided by pharmacy students at a university-based call center on 30-day hospital readmission. Methods: In this retrospective observational study, an electronic chart review was conducted for patients who were discharged from the hospital and received a telephone call from pharmacy students. Patients were referred to the pharmacy team from a primary care provider office. The co-primary endpoints were the number of 30-day all-cause hospital readmissions (including emergency department visits) and 30-day readmission due to initial admission diagnosis in patients who received a telephonic TOC call from a pharmacy student compared with patients who declined or were unable to be reached. Types of pharmacy-related TOC interventions provided by students were also collected. Results: A total of 84 patients were included in this study. All-cause 30-day readmission was similar between groups (13% vs 15.8%), whereas 30-day readmission due to initial admission diagnosis was much lower in the intervention group (5.9% vs 11.1%). Although a positive trend was observed in favor of the intervention group, a statistically significant difference was not observed for both 30-day all-cause readmission and 30-day readmission due to initial admission diagnosis. Medication reconciliation, adherence counseling, and lifestyle education (diet, exercise) are the most common topics discussed with the patients during TOC interventions. Conclusion: Using student pharmacists to provide postdischarge TOC calls can be a benefit to the patient and the health care team while offering pharmacy students valuable learning experience prior to graduation.