Pharmacy-based transition of care (TOC) interventions that include post-discharge medication therapy management (MTM) services are strongly correlated with reduced hospital readmissions.
A study published in the most recent edition of the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association found patients who received a full range of MTM services from a pharmacist within 1 week of discharge experienced significantly lower readmissions than those who received usual care.
All patients in the study were recruited from 2 local hospitals and had received a diagnosis of congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or pneumonia.
Among 9 Kroger Pharmacies in western Cincinnati, pharmacists reconciled medications, identified drug therapy issues, recommended changes to treatment, and provided disease self-management education to 30 patients in the MTM intervention group.
At 30 days post-discharge, all patients were surveyed via phone to assess hospital readmissions and their satisfaction, and pharmacist interventions and drug-related issues were documented.
Among the 90 patients who completed the study, 20% of those who received usual care were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days, compared with just 6.9% of those who received MTM services from a pharmacist.
Although average patient satisfaction with the TOC process did not significantly differ between those who were seen by a pharmacist and those who were not, the study authors noted the “community pharmacies successfully collaborated with hospitals to develop a referral process for TOC interventions.”
These overall results reinforce that community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to monitor medication adherence, said Pharmacy Times Health-System Edition Editor Stephen Eckel, PharmD, MHA, BCPA, FASHP, FAPhA. While a patient’s spectrum of care occurs in several different settings, “the one constant is the pharmacist,” Dr. Eckel said in a recent video interview.
In the study, patients who saw a pharmacist also reported greater levels of understanding about their medications and better recognition of symptoms associated with their disease states.
Lead author Heidi Luder PharmD, BCACP, wrote that this “demonstrates the importance of encouraging patient’s self-efficacy to promote self-confidence with caring for their condition,” as a means to support lasting behavioral changes.
“There’s a lot of things that go into adherence…but it’s something that pharmacists should be taking responsibility and accountability for,” Dr. Eckel added.